The Heat were strong to start, as Jimmy found Bam early for a big slam. Jimmy and Kendrick Nunn found buckets early, but Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid were also dialled in early and kept things very close. For Miami, Bam was unstoppable on the offensive end scoring seven points and showing off his soft shooting touch early.
Jimmy was aggressive early, slashing to the basket and looking for foul calls. He got to the line and did a great job keeping the Heat within striking distance.
Both teams played a really solid first quarter, with the league switching 6+ times. Philly shot 50% from the field, while the Heat shot 52% making it a pretty high scoring quarter. The Heat would ultimately use a 10-2 run to take the lead heading into the second up four.
The Heat would switch to the a 2-3 zone to start the quarter, yes, the zone that has infamously frustrated the Sixers this season. It would slow the Sixers down, but they’d still find a way to take the lead. On the offensive end, the Heat made some questionable decisions taking some low percentage looks and forcing on a few shots.
Goran Dragic kept the Heat alive with solid offensive production scoring 9 points off the bench before the 7 minute mark. Jimmy would re-enter the game and score immediately, helping the Heat take the lead once again. He’d score two consecutive buckets right after that to create a 6-0 run.
The Sixers would battle back to keep things close, but every time it looked like Miami would fall behind somebody stepped up (in this case Nunn and Jimmy). The Heat were impressive on defense causing turnovers and turning them into buckets. Still, with Mike Scott scoring back-to-back triples and the Sixers getting good looks beyond the arc Philly didn’t fall far behind.
Miami would escape the half up three thanks to some spectacular play from Jimmy Butler. He had 23 points at the half, and absolutely dominated the Philly defense.
Miami continued their aggressiveness into the third quarter, as Jimmy Butler continued to steam roll through the key to extend the lead. Embiid would attempt to stop Miami’s assault, working his way to the line, but it just didn’t seem like he had much help.
Earlier this season I wasn’t sure about Duncan Robinson, but I must say his development has been astounding. Yes, he has a defensive lapse every once in a while, but his ability to shoot the three ball is unmatched. Once again he had multiple buckets from beyond the arc. He can win the three point contest and will continue to be a key contributor for the Heat.
Meyers Leonard would roll his ankle badly midway through the quarter and leave the game. Hopefully he doesn’t miss much time, but it didn’t look good. Tyler Herro would also leave the game with foot soreness and not return.
Luckily for the suddenly shorthanded Heat, Jimmy Butler didn’t slow down, feasting from beyond the arc and attacking the basket. Philly had no answers for him on defense at all. Bam would get in on the action as the Heat erupted to take a 14 point lead.
Derrick Jones Jr. was great for the Heat. He was hitting threes tonight and contributing on both sides of the floor. DJJ has really become a key player for Miami with Justise missing so much time.
The Heat were phenomenal in the third quarter scoring 41 points, and looking as good as they have all season. They’d take a 20 point lead into the fourth quarter.
The Sixers would full court press to start the fourth, in an attempt to get back in the game but the Heat refused to slow down. Kelly Olynyk, Duncan Robinson and Dragic all had some fantastic looks to keep the ahead.
The last two seasons the Sixers have looked fierce. They’ve been true threats and as gritty as a team could possibly be. They’ve punished Miami after nearly every mistake and pushed them to their limit in a playoff series just a couple of seasons ago. This did not feel like the same team. Their body language was off as soon as the Heat took the lead in the third. I’m not a Philly expert by any means, but I have routinely watched their battles against the Heat and they always bring it more than this. They’ve now lost 3 of their last four. Pardon the Philly cliche, but tonight they didn’t have the eye of the tiger.
The Heat thoroughly dominated Philly down the stretch to take the season series 3-1 and secure a tie breaker if needed. Jimmy Butler had a true revenge game with 38 points, and the whole team was involved on offence. This was a great win, and one that could have a serious effect on playoff seedings .