Friday, December 09, 2022

Adebayo, Butler lead the Heat from 76 to 119-103 in Game 2

MIAMI ( Associated Press) – Bam Adebayo caught a lob for an alley-oop dunk in the middle of the fourth quarter, then threw a lob to Jimmy Butler a minute later for another dunk.

Both were very easy.

Joel Embiid could complicate those plays going forward – and the Miami Heat are looking north to hopefully have them waiting.

Adabio scored 23 points, Butler had 22 points and 12 assists, and the Heat beat the Philadelphia 76ers 119-103 on Wednesday night to take a 2-0 lead in the Eastern Conference semifinals.

“It’s always good to win. We did what we should have done at home,” Butler said.

Victor Oladipo scored 19 points on his 30th birthday, and Tyler Herro added 18 points for the Heat, East’s No. 1 seed. Oladipo had 10 points in the fourth quarter.

Tyrese Maxi scored 34 points for Philadelphia, 21 from Tobias Harris and 20 from James Harden.

“We just have to go back to the drawing board and try to figure it out,” Maxi said.

A 10–0 run in the fourth converted Miami’s eight-point lead into an 18-point lead, sealing the victory and ensuring that the Heat remained on home court before the series shifted north. Game 3 is in Philadelphia on Friday.

And now, the Heat are hopeful that history lives on – and the 76ers will be hoping it won’t.

Miami has taken a 2–0 lead in the last 18 series, including the first round of this season against Atlanta, and won the matchup each time. The 76ers franchise, having lost the first two games of the matchup on 19 other occasions, never recovered to win the series.

Friday’s question will revolve around whether Embiid might be ready for Game 3. The league’s scoring champion and MVP finalist is recovering from an orbital fracture and concussion and, not surprisingly, has been missed big time by the 76ers.

“We don’t have a big man right now,” lamented Philadelphia coach Doc Rivers.

Adebayo certainly isn’t complaining. He was 8 for 10 off the field and 8 for 8 off the line in Game 1; They followed with a 7-11 night off the floor on Wednesday.

But he said he is preparing as Embiid will play on Friday. And Butler, who has been close to Embiid since his time as a teammate in Philadelphia, is hoping his MVP pick can play into the series.

“I want to compete against him,” Butler said. “I really do.”

However, Rivers was not optimistic about the prospect of Embiid being ready.

“He’s got a lot of steps to go,” Rivers said. “I don’t think he’s approved of any of them right now.”

However, it wasn’t just Embiid’s absence that hurt Philadelphia. The 76ers were terrible again from 3-point range, shooting 8 for 30 in Game 2. They are now 14 for 64 from deep in the series.

“When it comes down to it, you have to make shots, especially when you’re on the road against a really good team,” Harden said. “It’s very easy.”

Danny Green was 1 for 10 off the ground – the second time in his playoff career he had put in so much effort and made a poor shot in the postseason game. Other? A 1 for-12 effort for San Antonio in 2013, also in Miami, was the night the Heat won their third and most recent NBA title.

Summer is not close to that yet. But those are two wins from the former final.

“Winning the playoffs is not easy.” Heat coach Eric Spoelstra said. “We had some great stretches, especially defensively. We had some good stretches offensively. … Our defense really led us to victory, but we had some really timely offensive plays. “


76ers: Harden fouled in a 3-point attempt with 0.1 seconds in the half, making all three free throws to get Philadelphia within 60-52 at the break. … Maxi’s right knee was cut in the fourth quarter, with play temporarily halted while the 76ers went to him. He stayed in the game. … Georges Niang had another unusual state line. He was 0 for 7 – all 3-pointers – in Game 1 – then was fouled out in 10 minutes of Game 2. It was the fourth lowest minute that anyone had fouled.

The Heat: PJ Tucker turned 37 on Thursday. … it was the 497th consecutive sell-off announced by the Heat, tying Sacramento for the fifth-longest streak in NBA history. The record is held by Dallas, with 864 consecutive sells and counting. … Miami held a rebounding edge 44-34.

passing party

With this win, Spoelstra’s post-season record improved to 91–59 (.607). Among coaches with at least 100 playoff games, he came fourth on the NBA’s win-percentage list behind only Steve Kerr (.732), Phil Jackson (.688) and Billy Cunningham (.629). Coach Spoelstra passed in the win percentage Wednesday night? That would be her boss, Heat President Pat Riley, who went 171-111 (.606).

Kentucky South

Kentucky ties went deep Wednesday night. Wildcats coach John Calipari was in Game 2, where Hero formally received the Sixth Man Award. Other former Kentucky players on the Heat and 76ers: Adebayo, Maxi, and Heat two-way player Mychal Mulder. And Riley played in Kentucky.


Game 3 is in Philadelphia on Friday.


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