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Without Joel Embiid and James Harden, Sixers defeat Heat, 113-106

Miami Heat v Philadelphia 76ers Photo by David Dow/NBAE via Getty Images

The Sixers knocked off the top seeded Miami Heat Monday night, 113-106, despite having a lot of star power on the bench. Both James Harden and Joel Embiid sat out the contest, to rest a sore hamstring and back, respectively. Tyrese Maxey was phenomenal down the stretch, giving the Sixers 28 points on 77.4 percent true shooting, as the crowd chanted his name. Shake Milton and Furkan Korkmaz had big nights in the midst of a quiet season, with 20 and 18 points, respectively. Here are some observations from Monday’s win.

First Half

  • It was odd to see Paul Millsap get the start. After all, he hasn’t appeared in a game since March 5 in Miami. All things considered, his first shift out there looked pretty good. He forced a steal and blocked a Jimmy Butler shot.
  • It was nice to see some life from Shake Milton early. Due to a few injuries, Milton hasn’t been able to get into any sort of rhythm this season. Nine early points from him and eight from Tyrese Maxey kept the Sixers in it, in the first quarter at least.
  • It must have also been great for Furkan Korkmaz to finally see the ball go through the basket a couple of times. Korkmaz is all but out of the regular rotation, but he took advantage of the opportunity tonight, making his first four shots and scored 10 in the first half. Milton, Korkmaz, and Niang were the reasons the Sixers actually went into halftime with the lead.
  • The most disappointing part about not seeing Charles Bassey or Paul Reed in the first half was how predictable it was (those last 2.8 seconds don’t count). Doc Rivers has said on multiple occasions, including before tonight’s game, that this stretch of the season would be an opportunity for the young guys, but his substitution patterns are a pretty clear indicator that is not going to be the case. It is highly unlikely that either Bassey or Reed will be a useful player for this year’s playoffs, but to not see what either can do with real minutes is disheartening.

Second Half

  • Despite slogging through most of the third quarter, the Sixers were able to hang with Miami and keep their lead into the fourth quarter. They did a good job limiting the Heat’s scoring to only Jimmy Butler in the quarter. Butler would finish the game with 27 points, five rebounds and six assists.
  • Another strong stretch from Shake Milton, this time to start the fourth quarter, scoring eight of the first 10 Sixers points in the quarter. If Milton or Korkmaz are able to replicate just a fraction of the production they gave tonight going forward, that would be huge for the Sixers’ bench heading into the playoffs.
  • Paul Reed looked like he was about to enter the game with eight minutes left in the game, then went back to the bench. The way the center rotation was managed tonight was extremely frustrating. Bam Adebayo was running circles around DeAndre Jordan in the fourth.
  • Truly a tremendous job by Maxey, Milton, and Korkmaz down the stretch. There were so many moments in this game where it looked like the Sixers had finally run out of gas and Miami would run away with the game. Maxey’s stepback three made the Wells Fargo Center as loud as it has been all season. His block on Caleb Martin nearly brought the roof down. Just a truly whacky win for the Sixers.