The Miami Heat fell short against the Philadelphia 76ers on the second night of a back-to-back. Miami had a double-digit lead early and had their imprint on the game. However, the Sixers came back with a strong second half and took the lead. The Heat struggled from three-point range and had multiple players struggling with their shots. With the Sixers playing well and Miami’s offense struggling, this became too much for the Heat to overcome. Miami falls to 27-16 for the season. Here are my takeaways from Saturday’s loss against Philadelphia.
Yurtseven Dominates Inside
Omer Yurtseven was the best Heat player on the floor Saturday night. Yes, you read that right. The Heat went to Yurtseven early and he rewarded them. He was outplaying Joel Embiid in the early stages of the game. His points came off the pick and roll game with Kyle Lowry and drop offs whenever the Sixers blitzed Jimmy Butler. In his tenth start of the season, Yurtseven is starting to get more comfortable. The shame is that this could be his last time playing significant minutes with Bam Adebayo possibly returning on Monday. Miami is going to have tough decisions to make with its rotations. Yurtseven finished the night with 22 points and 11 rebounds.
Caleb Martin Makes His Case
Signing Caleb Martin on a two-way contract has to rank high on Miami’s best offseason moves. Using his length and athleticism, Martin has been one of the Heat’s best two-way players. He’s literally everywhere on the floor. We saw on one fastbreak where he trailed Butler and was rewarded with a bucket. Defensively, he’s guarding the opposing team’s best scoring guards and holding his own. He’s the kind of player Miami needs to find minutes for whenever they get fully healthy. He continues to prove his case every night. Martin finished the night with 16 points.
Butler and Lowry Struggles
This was not a good night for both Butler and Lowry offensively. When you see the box score, you would notice both players finished the game with eight points apiece. Both players shot a combined 3-of 22 from the field. While they both got good looks, the shots kept falling short. That’s usually not a great recipe for success for Miami. Especially against a Sixers team that has been playing well recently. For most of the game, Miami was riding the hot hand of Yurtseven. There are going to be nights where the shots are not falling in. However, that can also be the difference in determining the outcome of the game as well. And it certainly did with the loss to the Sixers.
Bam Return and Its Impact on the Rotation
Now, we await the potential return of Adebayo on Monday. We all know how impactful Adebayo is on both sides of the floor. He’s the most versatile big man defender in the league. Adebayo also helps as a facilitator on the offensive end. As mentioned earlier, his return could force Yurtseven out of the rotation. After a slow start with the 10-man lineup on Friday, Miami shrunk the rotation down to nine players. The move had Gabe Vincent outside of the rotation. If the Heat stick with the nine-man rotation, it’ll have Yurtseven as the odd man out. Even though the rotation decisions will be difficult, it’s certainly a good problem for Miami.
Next Up: The Toronto Raptors on Monday. The game tips off at 7:30 pm eastern.
Follow Jacari McRae on Twitter @JMcRae23
Main Image Credit: designed by Jeremy Guerin @jeremycguerin