The Philadelphia 76ers played Monday’s game without James Harden and Joel Embiid. This should be an easy win for the Miami Heat, right? No. Miami had trouble slowing the 76ers attack all night long. The 76ers were able to get going inside and outside the paint. Miami was a step slow defensively and kept getting beat on the dribble throughout the game. In the end, Tyrese Maxey was able to take the game over and seal the deal. With the loss, Miami moves to 47-25 for the regular season. Here are four takeaways from Miami’s loss to Philadelphia.
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Throughout the season, the Heat have been credited for being a tough defensive-minded team. A team that competes very hard and doesn’t take possessions off on that end. However, less talented teams seem to catch Miami off guard. That’s exactly what happened on Monday night. The Heat were slow on defensive closeouts and the 76ers made them pay each time. There also was a lot of ball watching and less communication on the Heat’s end. In the last matchup between the two teams, we saw Miami triple-team Embiid on one play and quickly rotate out to shooters. We didn’t see that same energy this time around. Giving up 113 points against a shorthanded 76ers team isn’t ideal.
Butler Keeps Heat Afloat
Jimmy Butler was back after his one-game absence and he was already relied on heavily offensively. Butler was consistently able to blow past 76ers defenders and get to the basket. At the end of the half, he had 15 points, of which seven of them came from the free throw line. It helped that the 76ers were switching on defense and it often left Butler with a smaller defender on him. Against a smaller defender, Butler took advantage inside the paint. He also hit a few mid-range jumpers in this game as well. While his inside presence is key, there’s going to be a time where he’ll need a mid-range game in the playoffs. Especially against lengthier teams like the Milwaukee Bucks and others. Butler finished the night with 27 points, five rebounds, and six assists.
Herro Struggles on Both Ends
Since the all-star break, Tyler Herro has been on a tear offensively. There have been times where he was Miami’s offense. Against the 76ers, it was a different story. Herro struggled to get his shots going on Monday. He had makeable shots but they just weren’t going in. Defensively, it wasn’t a great night for Herro, especially late in the game. The 76ers made a concerted effort to attack Herro on every drive. Philadelphia was able to get inside and score off of multiple drives to the basket. When Miami tried to help quicker, the 76ers swung the ball to the open man. It’s a strategy that ended up working for Philadelphia in the end. Herro finished the night with 10 points.
Another Trade Rumor
Earlier in the day, The Athletics’ Shams Charania reported that Miami was seen as a ‘legitimate suitor’ if Bradley Beal decides to leave. Beal, who’s out this season with an injury, has an opportunity to leave the Washington Wizards as a free agent this summer. For Miami to acquire Beal, it would require a sign-and-trade deal that would likely have to include Herro. Charania also added that the Wizards are still considered favorites in the Beal sweepstakes. Unlike other teams, the Wizards can offer more money. We’ll see what moves Beal decides to make this offseason.
Next Up: The Golden State Warriors on Wednesday. The game tips off at 7:30 pm eastern.
Follow Jacari McRae on Twitter @JMcRae23