With the season on the line, the Sixers fell apart at the finish line, dropping the game, 99-90, and the series, 4-2, to the Miami Heat. While not playing very inspiring ball in the first half, the Sixers got solid halves from Joel Embiid and James Harden and found themselves down by just a point. They completely collapsed in the third quarter, shooting just 6-of-21 from the field in the frame. Behind a 32-point performance from Jimmy Butler and 20 points from Max Strus, the Heat would take a double-digit lead and never look back.
Joel Embiid gave it everything his body gave him, putting up 20 points and 12 rebounds, but was hampered from the field as he shot 7-of-22. James Harden had a solid 11-point first half before putting on quite the disappearing act; he did not score in the second half. Tyrese Maxey had 20 points, but it was too little, too late. As the Sixers head into another offseason with more questions than answers, here are some instant reactions from Game 6.
- The Danny Green injury looked absolutely brutal. So much of Embiid’s weight landed on his left leg. This is a big blow for a team already struggling with wing depth in this series. Despite his inconsistencies, losing Danny Green in the second round is a big blow for this team for the second year In a row.
- Green’s lack of spacing presence was felt immediately, as the offensive really struggled in extended Thybulle minutes. The Sixers have already struggled to get Embiid the ball in Miami’s zone, but it was even harder when they are basically playing 4 vs. 5 offensively.
The Heat's defense is completely ignoring Matisse Thybulle.— Tom West (@TomWestNBA) May 12, 2022
Herro is just hanging in the lane ready to help, Dedmon leaves the basket to double Harris, the Sixers can't get anything moving. pic.twitter.com/4UQmS3hFVQ
- Jimmy Butler was an absolute menace in this series, especially in the games in Philly. He picked up right where he left off, with a nine of his 32 points coming in the first. Max Strus was another thorn in Philly’s side, going for 16 first half points. The Sixers were lucky to only be down three after the first quarter.
- The Sixers were buoyed by their stars in the second quarter. Despite still struggling with his midrange game, Embiid left it all out there. He sat just one minute of the first half, and was literally throwing his body all over the court. He finished the first half with 14/6/2.
- James Harden also had a solid first half, with 11 points (3-of-5 3PT) and five assists, but getting hardly any contribution from anyone else allowed Miami to take a one-point lead back into the half.
- It is a little astonishing how much more intensity the Heat came out of the half with than the Sixers. The Heat started the third on a 23-4 run, during which the Sixers looked like they were still in mid-February, not an elimination game. The lack of intensity by pretty much every Sixer not named Embiid showed in the last two games was disheartening.
Miami exits the timeout on a 23-4 run, up 16, in a closeout game and puts together this defensive possession. Whew. pic.twitter.com/icYJWtcAEf— Jackson Frank (@jackfrank_jjf) May 13, 2022
- It completely unravelled in the third quarter. Once the Heat got out to a lead, the Sixers folded like a beach chair. It is so disappointing to see the season end this way. There was a little seven-point spurt from Shake Milton which looked like the faintest sign of life, and Maxey had a small burst in the fourth, but the Heat squashed both. It was always going to be an uphill battle to win this series with Embiid injured, but the fact that it felt like he was giving way more with a broken face than any of his teammates is honestly a really fitting way to sum up the entire season.