Almost without shaking, Miami won Game 1 on home soil, ending the match against the Sixers with seriousness and carried by the aggressiveness of Tyler Herro and Bam Adebayo.
The first objective for the Sixers was to hold on over time, and the start did not bode well on this point, as Miami flew over the first five minutes of play, striking an 18-6 marked by the missiles of PJ Tucker and Max Strus as well as the Butler-Adebayo yard.
Except that Philadelphia did better than resist afterwards. By responding with an 11-0 concluded by Paul Reed, to return to -3 (25-22) then taking the lead squarely at half-time after a 10-2 to rally the break with the Maxey-Harden-Harris trio with the stick (50-51)!
Miami returned to its fundamentals to regain control of the game, with 3-pointers from PJ Tucker and Gabe Vincent but also a dominating Bam Adebayo, as expected in the absence of Joel Embiid, alongside an equally overmotivated PJ Tucker .
The Florida pivot gave his team a seven-point lead after an offensive rebound followed by two free throws (68-61). It was then a heroic 2+1 from Gabe Vincent and two brilliant shots from Tyler Herro that allowed the locals to relegate Philly to 10 points (78-68).
At the start of the last quarter, the Sixers were still alive, at -8 (80-72), with the hope of shaking Miami at the end. A scenario that ultimately did not happen. The Heat avoided a few cold sweats thanks to two baskets behind Tyler Herro’s arc and four points from Bam Adebayo, giving Floridians the biggest gap of the match six minutes from the end (96-77).
Max Strus put the final point by slamming a dunk out of time-out, and Miami was able to calmly finish to win 106-92.
WHAT YOU MUST REMEMBER
– Encouraging but insufficient. The Sixers were promised hell in the absence of Joel Embiid. On arrival, Philly still found a way to turn in the lead at the break, and only went down on one knee at the start of the fourth quarter, quickly finding themselves at -19. Rather encouraging, even if it will take more to hope for a match at this Heat in the current state of things.
– The dominance of the Heat on the rebound. As you might expect, the absence of Joel Embiid weighed on Philly in several aspects, including the fight for the rebound. Miami has swallowed ten more (47-37) and hurt the Sixers with 15 offensive rebounds. PJ Tucker and Bam Adebayo notably had free rein to dictate their law in painting.
– The James Harden game. It was the perfect opportunity for “The Beard” to find a little more responsibility in attack. Except that the back has absolutely nothing changed in his habits, keeping the role of “playmaker” and ending the game with 16 points at 5/13 in shooting. For comparison Tyrese Maxey and Tobias Harris took 15 and 18 shots respectively. It would be about waking up James!
✅ Bam Adebayo. The pivot of the Heat had free rein to win and deliver a complete game, 24 points (8/10 shooting, 8/8 free throw), 12 rebounds, 4 assists and 2 steals .
✅ Tyler Herro. Best scorer (25 points) and best passer of his team (7 assists), the sixth man of the Heat perfectly compensates for the absence of Kyle Lowry. His outdoor address (4/6) has also done Miami a lot of good.
⛔ Tyrese Maxey. The Sixers nugget struggled to play his usual role. More in the spotlight due to Joel Embiid’s package, he was rather well contained, finding himself in difficulty in shooting (6/15) and finding his teammates (2 assists).
⛔ George Niang. 22 minutes of play, seven shots attempted, all 3-pointers: 0/7.
Game 2 this Wednesday evening, still in Miami (01:30).