The 76ers kicked off their second-round series against the Heat Monday night in Miami. To just about everyone’s dismay, DeAndre Jordan was in the starting lineup. A strong performance from Tobias Harris kept the Sixers competitive for the first three quarters, even taking a one-point lead into halftime, but they could not overcome their interior problems as they dropped Game 1, 106-92.
Harris led all scorers with 27 points on 11-of-18 shooting. Tyler Herro paced Miami, putting up 25 points while going 4-of-6 beyond the arc. Bam Adebayo thrived as well, posting 24 points and 12 rebounds on 8-of-10 shooting. Here are some takeaways from Game 1.
The talk surrounding this game was obviously going to focus on who would fill Joel Embiid’s absence at the center position. After saying pregame that he would have to be “free enough and fearless,” head coach Doc Rivers tried just about everything but the kitchen sink in this one.
Jordan was predictably a disaster, as the Sixers essentially spotted the Heat a nine-point lead from the jump. Most frustratingly, it looked like the mistake had been corrected in the first half. After a horrendous first four minutes, Jordan sat the bench for the rest of the half aside from a 45-second stint to close the opening quarter.
Paul Reed was excellent in the first half. He immediately gave the Sixers the rebounding boost they needed, and was super disruptive in the passing lanes. The small-ball lineups, primarily featuring Harris, had success in the first half.
Inexplicably, Jordan was once again the primary option in the second half. Of course, it didn’t help that Reed was in foul trouble, picking up his fifth with over nine and a half minutes to go. Philly just got clobbered on the boards, and it really caught up with them in the second half. The Heat would end up with 15 offensive rebounds and 47 overall, 10 more than the Sixers’ 37.
The Sixers lost this game for a lot of reasons. They shot horrendously from outside (17.6 percent from three) and didn’t take particularly good care of the basketball (14 turnovers). It’s hard to win playoff games like that, but the fact is this team’s biggest issue is so obvious and so avoidable is what makes it so frustrating. They’ll try again Wednesday in Miami at 7:30 p.m.