The Miami Heat knew it was going to be a battle facing four Eastern Conference contending teams this week. However, they ended the week with a 3-1 record by beating the Philadelphia 76ers. Miami started the game very strong and led by double-digits after the first period. At one point they led the 76ers by 20 points. Philadelphia was able to trim the Heat’s lead and make the game competitive. But in the end, Miami came away with the victory. With the win, Miami moves to 43-22 for the season. Here are my takeaways from Miami’s win over the 76ers.
Attacking the Zone
Throughout the previous years, Miami has had success against the 76ers with their 2-3 zone defense. They often confuse the 76ers players with their extended zone defense. But this time it was the Sixers zone defense that gave the Heat problems. To beat the zone, you need to have a man in the middle who can bust the zone. In the first few minutes of the third period, the Heat lacked that willing zone buster. Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo both were unwilling to take the mid-range jumper in the middle. This really restricted the Heat’s offense at times. The only willing zone buster was Tyler Herro, who continued to attack and split the first two defenders. Miami is going to have to take advantage of the middle when it comes to the zone defense. Especially when it’s likely they’ll see it again.
Butler in Attack Mode
Butler had it going early for the Heat. He went to his two strengths which were attacking the basket and drawing fouls. He got to the free throw line six times in the first half. Most importantly, it all came within the flow of the offense. He got to his spot and was able to hit on a couple of shots close to the basket. He converted on one three-pointer as well. Butler had 14 points in the first half. When the Heat’s offense started to get stagnant in the third period, Butler was able to keep the team ahead with his attacks at the rim. Butler finished the night with 21 points and five rebounds.
Herro’s Scoring Streak Continues
Ever since the all-star break, Herro has been getting a lot of buckets. He’s getting by his defenders in isolations to either score or pass. In pick-and-roll actions, he’s getting to his floater game easily and embracing the contact at the rim. As mentioned earlier, he was the Heat’s willing zone buster. He either split the first two defenders at the top of the key or drove straight to the basket for the score. The confidence in having Herro as a go-to-scoring option is growing by the day. With 21 points for the game, he’s now had six straight games of scoring 20 points or more. It’s clear that he’s the sixth man of the year.
Up and in 🪣 pic.twitter.com/Kjmu6H08C3
— Miami HEAT (@MiamiHEAT) March 6, 2022
Adebayo Struggles vs. Embiid
This was the first matchup between Joel Embiid and Adebayo. Adebayo had missed the previous two games with his thumb surgery. The Heat’s center has played well recently with his offensive aggression. However, he struggled against Embiid on Saturday. While Adebayo has been impressive, Embiid showed he’s on a different level than Adebayo. Despite the inefficient scoring, Embiid was still able to get his points at the free throw line. Adebayo, on the other hand, struggled from the field. Throughout the game, Bam appeared indecisive on the offensive end. But he still kept his head in the game and tipped in a huge offensive rebound late in the game. Adebayo finished the night with six points and 10 rebounds.
Next Up: The Houston Rockets on Monday. Game tips off at 7:30 pm Eastern.
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Main Image designed by Jeremy Guerin @jeremycguerin