The Sixers kicked off a home-and-home with the Miami Heat with an ugly loss Monday night. Philly struggled to take care of the ball and keep the Heat off the glass as a James Harden three fell short at the buzzer, giving Miami a 101-99 win.
Joel Embiid led all scorers with 27 points on 10 of 17 shooting. Tyrese Maxey shot 8 of 16 from the field for 23 points before fouling out, and Jimmy Butler led the way for the Heat with 23 points, 11 rebounds, and nine assists.
Here are some thoughts at the buzzer.
- There wasn’t a ton of offense from either team to start, but Miami used the glass to build an early lead. The Heat had a 18-8 rebounding edge in the first, grabbing eight of those on the offensive end, giving them nine second-chance points. Jimmy Butler pulled down three of those offensive rebounds, filling up the stat sheet in the first with 7-4-5 as the Heat held a six-point lead after one.
- Tyrese Maxey continues to struggle to get into a rhythm. In tonight’s first quarter he got a shot easily blocked, got called for a carry, and went 1 of 2 from the free throw line, and he’s been pretty passive in a role that should encourage him to be aggressive.
- Maybe this is what gets Maxey going?
- It was pretty obvious that Philly was sleepwalking through this one, and that could be seen in how they were taking care of the basketball. They turned it over eight times in the second, and are honestly lucky Miami didn’t turn that into more transition opportunities.
- Last season, I deemed Gabe Vincent a Sixer killer and while he wasn’t torching Philly like Butler has, he had a productive first half. Vincent, who averages nine points per game this season and seven for his career, averages 17.6 points per game against the Sixers, per Statmuse. Vincent had 11 points in the first half tonight as the Heat took an eight-point lead into the half.
- Philly spent most of the third cutting into the Heat lead, but too often surrendered an easy basket to kill the momentum of their own run. They continued to turn the ball over, with five more in the third.
- It didn’t help that Embiid only played the first half of the third, where he would normally play the entire quarter due to having four fouls. Bam Adebayo picked on Paul Reed a bit in isolations, but the bench unit did its job, as Embiid returned to only a four-point deficit.
- What a rollercoaster of a quarter for Tyrese Maxey. He used some transition opportunities to get in a rhythm, putting up 14 points in the quarter.
On the last shot of the quarter, Maxey was undercut by Victor Oladipo coming down on a jumper and rolled his ankle. He did need help getting up, but he would stay in the game.
- With about five minutes left, Tobias Harris hurt his leg and immediately went to the locker room. He returned to the game but only when Tyrese Maxey fouled out. That will certainly be worth monitoring over the next couple of days.
- The fourth quarter was a good microcosm for this entire game. The Sixers controlled much of the action down the stretch, but going for the first five minutes without a field goal put them in an 11-point hole. They got James Harden a clean look to win the game, but he just missed it.
- These two teams will meet again this week, this time in Miami as the Sixers hit the road. They’ll take on the Heat at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday night.