The question coming into Game 3 was whether Joel Embiid was going to play or not. It wasn’t until 10 minutes before game time that it was announced that he would play. Embiid’s presence had an immediate impact on both the Philadelphia 76ers and the Miami Heat. The 76ers were getting more opportunities with the attention on Embiid. Miami, on the other hand, struggled to get anything going offensively. Miami did make a big push in the third period to cut it to three. Unfortunately, they were unable to keep the momentum going in the final period. The 76ers ended up winning big to seal the Game 3 victory. With the loss, Miami falls to 2-1 for the series. Here are four takeaways from Miami’s loss to Philadelphia.
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Offense Goes Cold
The story of this game was on the offensive end for Miami. Defensively, Miami executed the game plan well. There were a few blown assignments off-ball but that generally happens when they’re rotating at a fast rate. But offensively, the Heat were awful and there weren’t finishing their halfcourt sets. They only scored 17 points in the first 15 minutes of the game. There was no ball or player movement. The ball was sticking to one side of the floor. The defensive game plan gave them a shot but the offense ended up hurting them in this one.
Buttler Keeps Heat Afloat
Jimmy Butler did everything in his power to pull a win for Miami. He started the game off slow but picked it up in the second half. His teammates had a hard time getting it going from the offensive end. Outside of Butler, the only player to score in double-digits was Tyler Herro. After Max Strus sparked a run with his two three-pointers, Butler took over the third period. He kept blowing past Embiid to get to the basket. He also scored off the ball and took advantage in the post against smaller defenders. This was Butler doing Butler things. Butler ended the night with 33 points and nine rebounds.
Over the first two games of the series, Bam Adebayo was averaging 23.5 points per game. He was able to take advantage of the 76ers bigs without Embiid. However, Game 3 was a different outcome. Adebayo was uncomfortable on the offensive end throughout the whole game. His shots fell short and the spacing also wasn’t there to attack. Defensively, he continued to make life difficult for James Harden. Outside of that, it was a bad night for Adebayo. Miami is going to need more offensively from him as the series progresses. Adebayo finished the night with nine points and three rebounds.
After being sidelined for two weeks with a hamstring injury, Kyle Lowry was back in action on Friday. His offense, on the other hand, wasn’t. This was kind of expected considering the time he was off. Defensively, his timing on the charges wasn’t as good as it normally is. He got caught twice moving on the charge attempts he made. The pick-and-roll action with Adebayo wasn’t as crisp either. Lowry was hesitant to shoot despite the space he had on the pick-and-rolls. Instead, he dished it to Adebayo a couple of times when there was no space for him. Lowry ended the night scoreless in his return.
Next up: Game 4 on Sunday. The game tips off at 8 pm eastern time.
Follow Jacari McRae on Twitter @JMcRae23