Split or Die Trying: 76ers-Heat Game 2 Preview, Odds, Prediction
The Miami Heat were successful in protecting their home court on Monday night, defeating the Philadelphia 76ers in game one of the second round of the NBA playoffs, 106-92.
The Heat jumped on the 76ers and got off to a 20-6 lead early in the first quarter before the Philadelphia 76ers fought back in the second. Heading into halftime, the 76ers found themselves with a one-point advantage, holding the Miami Heat to just two points over the final 4:40 minutes of the first half.
The second half however, was a completely different story. Tyler Herro torched the Sixers off the bench, scoring 25 points on 9-of-17 shooting and 4-of 6 from three point range. Bam Adebayo had his way in the paint, scoring 24 points on 8-of-10 shooting with 12 rebounds.
For the 76ers, they simply couldn’t get enough shots to fall, and Tobias Harris was honestly the only player to show up in game one, scoring 27 points on 11-for-18 shooting from the floor.
Tonight, the Sixers will need someone else to step up if they want to split the series and head back to Philly for Game 3 Friday night.
Why the 76ers Lost Game One:
- The 76ers shot 6-34 from three point range (18.2%)
- The 76ers used 11 different players in the first 15 minutes of the game
- James Harden only took 13 shots (5-for-13)
- 76ers 37 Rebounds (9 OREB). Heat 47 Rebounds (15 OREB)
- Niang and Green combined for 48 minutes and scored 5 points (2-13 FG, 1-12 3PT)
76ers Front Court
James Harden only took 13 shots, finishing the night with 16 points, nine rebounds, and five assists. Harden scored just four points in the second half, which is unacceptable without Joel Embiid playing.
Tyrese Maxey scored 19 points on 6-of-15 shooting from the floor but couldn’t get anything to fall from beyond the arc, shooting just 1-for-6 from three point range.
Are the Sixers going to shoot 6-for-34 again from three point range? I highly doubt it, which gives them another chance to win tonight against a very beatable Miami Heat team.
Still, there needs to be more movement on offense. The Sixers need to avoid James Harden isolations at all costs and find ways to open up the floor and have more efficient looks at the basket. The Heat were successful with playing P.J. Tucker and Victor Oladipo on Harden.
The Sixers couldn’t to get anything moving and couldn’t take advantage defenses switches. To be clear, Doc Rivers’ “Harden-centric” offense was a total failure and they can’t go back to it again tonight.
Tyrese Maxey and James Harden need to score efficiently. The Heat were focused on slowing down Harden and it worked perfectly, meaning that Maxey might be the best hope for the Sixers to get things rolling tonight. That is a tough ask of your 21-year old point guard but Maxey has proved in the past he is up for the challenge.
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Someone, Anyone on the Bench, Please.
Outside of the available “Big 3” for the Sixers, no other player scored over five points. Furkan Korkmaz finished with nine points but that doesn’t even count because it all came in garbage time.
Danny Green finished the night with 5 points, Georges Niang scored zero in 22 minutes, while Shake Milton and Matisse Thybulle combined to shoot 2-of-6 from the floor and 0-3 from three point range.
Without Joel Embiid, there’s no way the 76ers are going to be able to win without someone, anyone outside of Harris/Maxey/Harden having a strong performance.
Troubles in the Paint
We all know Doc Rivers said that he is going to start “DeAndre Jordan whether you (us) like it or not” so we should try to keep the complaining to a minimum tonight and look for a way to make it work. For the record, I don’t think it can work but the 76ers refuse to make me coach so we’re rolling with Rivers game plan (kill me) yet again tonight.
In game one, the Heat scored 1.59 points per possession with Jordan on the court compared to 0.88 points per possession with him off the floor. Paul Reed would be my starting center but the kid can’t stay out of foul trouble. In game one, Reed picked up five fouls in 13 minutes.
The last (and my favorite) option would be a small-ball lineup with Tobias Harris at center and Georges Niang at power forward. For that to work offensively, Niang is going to have to be productive, which is anything but assuring given the fact he went 0-for-7 from the floor in game one.
|Philadelphia 76ers||+8.5 (-115)||+280||O 207.5 (-110)|
|Miami Heat||-8.5 (-105)||-250||U 207.5 (-110)|
I love the over tonight at 207.5. One way or another, more shots are going to fall tonight. I’m also not one to shy away from a +280 value on the 76ers to steal game two so count me in there as well.
I still can’t get over the fact that the 76ers shot so poorly in game one. I like them to bounce back tonight and stealing one in Miami behind strong performances from Tyrese Maxey and Tobias Harris, with Danny Green knocking down 3+ threes in a win.
Split or Die Trying.