So, is it time for the victory tour?
The Sixers split their home-and-home, knocking off the Miami Heat 119-96 Wednesday night. Starting tonight, Tyrese Maxey exploded for 27 points, shooting 10 of 17 from the floor, while Paul Reed held down the front court with 16 points, a career-high 14 rebounds, and two blocks.
With tonight’s game being the first of a back-to-back, Joel Embiid was unavailable tonight with left foot soreness.
Here are some instant observations from the win.
- Without Embiid, Philly started the game small, sliding P.J. Tucker down to center and inserting Tyrese Maxey into the starting lineup. The small lineup moved the ball well, with Tucker finding Maxey wide open in the corner off a short roll. Maxey used that to get into a rhythm, scoring 10 first-quarter points, including two corner triples.
- It feels like these Embiid-less games are when Doc Rivers does the most tinkering with his rotation, if at all. Tonight Danuel House Jr. took Niang’s spot, who really struggled in February. House held his own early, with a couple of impressive drives that led to four points and a stop on Jimmy Butler on the other end.
- What early stops the Sixers did get however, were few and far between. Miami made seven of their first nine from the floor on their way to a 38 point first quarter. The Sixers trailed by four after the opening quarter.
- The second unit looked great with Harden running it to start the second. They made their first three threes of the second, helping a 12-0 run to put Philly out in front. The combination of Reed, McDaniels, and Melton was super disruptive to the Heat’s offense. There was so much switching! Miami went over seven minutes without a field goal.
- A big reason the Sixers fell on Monday to this team was that they got crushed on the glass. Paul Reed seemed to not want that to happen twice, as he pulled six boards in the first half — three of them were offensive rebounds. On top of his stout rebounding and defense, he also put up 10 points on 4 of 5 shooting and one funny (albeit illegal) kick save in 12 first-half minutes.
Jim Curtain like what you see?? pic.twitter.com/Z0aY5DLOU2— DFAntastic (@PhillyTradesman) March 2, 2023
- Another area that plagued Philly Monday was taking care of the basketball. They cleaned that up as well, turning it over only three times in the first half, none of them coming in the second quarter. The Sixers won the second 37-15 as they cruised to an 18 point lead at the break.
- Everything about this fast break is aesthetically pleasing. From Melton’s steal, Maxey’s save, and Harris’s finish on the lob.
- Miami did have a run in them, scoring 10 straight in the middle of the third in a frustrating stretch for the Sixers that saw Tucker pick up his third and fourth fouls in a 10-second span.
- Philly would weather the storm by scoring at a pace that the Heat could just not keep up with. Miami had another field goal drought of over three minutes, while Tyrese Maxey once again put up points in a burst. The Sixers took a 19-point lead into the fourth.
- Jalen McDaniels attempted to dunk Cody Zeller into the earth’s crust for the second time tonight. He was unsuccessful on both tries, but both of them did earn him trips to the free throw line.
- There were no fourth quarter dramatics tonight, and Philly was even able to get PJ Tucker an extra quarter of rest. This allowed for even more endearing Bball Paul highlights.
- The Sixers will once again be on display for the whole league, as they take on the Mavericks tomorrow night in Dallas at 7:30 p.m. on TNT.