With both teams playing on back-to-back nights, the Philadelphia 76ers throttled the Miami Heat 113-86 at Wells Fargo Center. In what was supposed to be a bout of Eastern Conference heavyweights, Philadelphia delivered the early gut-check starting the game on a 11-2 run. Miami was blitzed in the 1st quarter and didn’t get up off the canvas thereafter as the Sixers shot 70% from the field and led 28-13.
Jimmy Butler was booed every time he touched the basketball while giving a modest performance in his return to Philadelphia. 11 points on 4-for-13 shooting is all he could muster. The Heat split “Jimmy Butler’s Homecoming Tour,” a quick two-game road trip to the windy city and the city of brotherly love. Philly put a halt to Miami’s five-game win streak on Saturday night, extending their four-game run and remaining undefeated at home.
A familiar face glared back at the Heat from across the court in Josh Richardson who saw action against his former team for the first time since being traded. In what can only be described as poetic irony, Josh Richardson’s three-pointer with 6:08 left in the 1st quarter spelled disaster for the Heat, pushing the lead to double-digits from which it would never again fall below. Richard would wind up leading all scorers with 32.
Joel Embiid, Josh Richardson and Tobias Harris outscored the entire Heat team 37-35 in the first half. Miami struggled to contain Joel Embiid inside all night long. The big man started the game with 11 quick points and controlled the real estate in and around the paint. When Embiid drew double teams the Sixers perimeters shooters were sure all night, none moreso than Richardson who shot 6-for-7 from downtown.
For Miami, it went from the lowest scoring quarter of the season to the lowest scoring first half after posting just 35 points. The Heat bounced back with a respectable 2nd quarter but were struck again out of halftime with a 13-1 run. After making at least 14 triples in two straight games, Miami started the contest missing 11 out of their first 12. The Heat allowed over 110 points for only the third time this season.
Miami was careless with the basketball throughout the evening. Turning the ball over 17 times. Slow. Stagnant. Lethargic. All would describe the Heat who were mostly unrecognizable for the entirety of the game. Miami only had 2 assists in the first half, missing the ball movement that has made them so successful this season. There was both a lot of one-on-one basketball and not much movement or flow to the offense.
It was a reality check for the rookie, Kendrick Nunn’s, whose lone basket came with 6 minutes remaining in the game. Prior to this he was held scoreless during 10 minutes of play in his own homecoming. The Chicago native was mauled by the Sixers perimeter defense during his short stints.
If you could find one bright spot for Miami it would be the play of Goran Dragic and Tyler Herro off the bench. The pair combined for 38 of Miami’s 53 bench points.
It was a night to forget for Miami but they’ll have an opportunity to bounce back in relatively short order as they play host to Charlotte on Monday.