The Miami Heat are advancing to the Eastern Conference Finals. With Jimmy Butler leading the way, the Heat was able to pick up their first road win of the series. From the start, you can tell Miami was set on closing out this series. They picked up their defensive intensity at the start of the game and kept it going throughout. The Philadelphia 76ers made it interesting at times whenever they cut into Miami’s lead. However, Miami still ran away with it and sealed the deal in the end. With the win, Miami wins the series 4-2. Here are my takeaways from Miami’s win over Philadelphia.
Butler set the tone from the start. He converted on his first three shot attempts of the game. Butler had nine points at the end of the first period. He went cold in the second quarter and missed all four attempts in the period. However, he erupted in the second half of the game. Butler was aggressive on both ends of the floor. Offensively, he took advantage of the smaller matchups and got into the paint multiple times. As we have seen all series, the 76ers had no answer for slowing him down. Whatever Butler wanted he got. Knowing the stakes of the game, Miami started the fourth quarter with him on the floor. In the end, Butler finished with 32 points and eight rebounds.
Strus’ Complete Game
Max Strus had another impressive performance in Game 6. Building off his good Game 5 performance, Strus was the Heat’s second-best player on the floor. He literally did everything on the floor on Thursday. Strus drove to the paint multiple times against the 76ers’ bent defense. The three-point shooting was there as well. Additionally, he had a couple of assists and crashed the boards. These past two games were encouraging for him and the Heat. Especially after struggling early in the series. Strus ended the night with 20 points, 11 rebounds, and five assists.
Bam’s Defensive Night
As one of the Heat’s max players, there are a lot of expectations on Bam Adebayo. Throughout his career, Adebayo has shown his versatility on both ends of the floor. Adebayo is often evaluated by his offensive and whether he is aggressive or not. Once again, Game 6 wasn’t a huge offensive night from Adebayo. However, he deserves credit for his defense of Joel Embiid. Stopping Embiid is no easy job, but Adebayo has done well. In Games 5-6, we saw less switching from Adebayo and more drop coverages, fronting the post, and helping. He’s proven he can guard the perimeter well but his defense on Embiid deserves huge praise. Adebayo ended the night with 10 points, eight rebounds, and two steals.
Back in the Eastern Conference Finals
The Heat are back in the Eastern Conference Finals for the first time since 2020. Even though the national media didn’t see it, this is where the Heat expected to be around this time of year. Getting put before the third round would’ve been disappointing. But Miami got the job done so far. Now, it’s time to shoot for more. So far, they’ve gotten great defensive play from Adebayo, role players stepping up, and Butler taking his game to another level. With second-round wrapped out, they now await the winner of the Boston Celtics–Milwaukee Bucks series. We’ll see how Miami responds to this next challenge.
Next Up: The Eastern Conference Finals. Opponent and date to be determined later.
Follow Jacari McRae on Twitter @JMcRae23
Main Image was designed by Jeremy Guerin @jeremycguerin