Ben Simmons dominated the series without making a single 3-point basket, and in “the process” made the Heat abandon their 3-point game. Miami completely forgot three is better than two since counting began, and a trey puts one more point on the board than a dunk by “Big Ben.”
So how does Kelly Olynyk fit in the picture for hopefully the next three games ?
His slower space and pace style encourages Miami’s outside shooting, versus a game in the paint where the 76ers have a decided edge.
In the 2018 playoffs, the Heat committed the most personal fouls per game, 28.5, thereby giving the 76ers the most free throw points, 23.3, of any team. Meanwhile the 76ers attempted 32.3 treys to the Heat’s 25.8, and Miami is last in 3-point shots, 12, of all teams in the second half, probaby due to the heavy minutes Dwyane Wade logs in late game situations.
With next game on Tuesday, the time to fire up Miami’s 3-point barrage may be at hand to salvage what remains of the Heat’s playoff chances.
Simmons and Joel Embiid will get more dunks with Olynyk in the game, but they are worth a point less than a basket Miami makes from the perimeter. Besides as the last game shows, avoiding the free throw line is in Miami’s best interests.
Three-point threats Luke Babbitt and Rodney McGruder have gotten little time on the court, even though they can space the floor like they did last season as starters when Maimi made a miracle comeback from an 11-30 beginning.
Simmons depends on others to open up the game, but he committed the most fouls on the team, 15, followed by Robert Covington with 14, and Dario Saric’s 13.
As a ball handler Embiid had 11 turnovers to his 5 assists, and Ersan Ilyasova isn’t any better with the ball in his hands: 7 turnovers and 1 assist. Embiid changes the game for the 76ers, but the Heat gifting him 20 points on free throws in two games, makes him an unnecessary three-point threat at the rim.
Bringing in Olynyk, without his pump fake to foolishly challenge the Sixers at the rim, adds a floor-spreading three-point threat on the court to kick start Miami’s three-point game, and draw defenses away from Hassan Whiteside in the paint.
After losing three of four playoff games with the same starting five, desperate times call for desperate measures.
Numbers courtesy of NBA stats.