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Heat hang on to beat Sixers 101-96

After dominating for nearly the entire game, Miami nearly blew a 20 point lead but would hold on for a much needed win

Miami Heat v Philadelphia 76ers Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images

First Half:

The game was fairly close to start with multiple lead changes, but it was Miami’s defense that stood out not that it wasn’t nice seeing Kyle and Duncan hitting looks from three. Reserves stepped up like KZ Okpala, allowing Miami to sneak out ahead. Okpala was also solid on offense. It’s nice to see what these guys are capable of with some minutes.

Duncan was spectacular in the first quarter going three for four from three to get Miami out on a 15-4 run. It’s nice seeing Duncan get going again after such a rough start to the season. Hopefully, a performance like this keeps him surging.

Spo rotated through many players in the first quarter, with Yurt and Marcus Garrett getting minutes. It was cool seeing him implement almost hockey-style shifts. It was a strong start for the Heat, and they’d take an 11 point lead into the second quarter.

Miami continued their hot start into the second with PJ Tucker and Yurtseven hustling in the paint on offense. Yurtseven looked great as he asserted himself against Andre Drummond, dominating him in the post.

With the offense firing and the defense locking things down, the Heat was able to build a 19 point lead. However, Philly didn’t lie down with Tyrese Maxey and Joel Embiid chipping away for 8 straight points to trim the lead to eleven.

Miami didn’t stay stagnant for long as they continued their hot shooting from three with Duncan and Strus dominating. There is a lot of depth on this team, which makes them able to withstand a lot of damage. Which is necessary with the stars missing. But one thing is for certain if Miami is hitting their threes they can go toe to toe with anybody in this league.

Towards the end of the half, Philly would cut the lead to nine but a Game Vincent three would end their 10-0 run. Philly had momentum briefly, but another huge Kyle three to end the half gave the Heat a nine-point lead heading into halftime.

Second Half:

Gabe Vincent continued his hot start into the second opening the half with two threes to get to 21 points. He’d finish the game with 26 points. Miami surged once again to build back that 19 point lead.

Miami’s zone bamboozled the Sixers on defense, allowing the Heat to really be selective on offense. Sometimes the Heat gets stuck in a cycle of forcing shots, but tonight they were able to pick and choose whatever shots they wanted with Dedmon, Vincent, and Tucker all getting great looks.

Halfway through the third, the Phill crowd rained down boos on their own team. Philly just had no answers for the Heat reserves but it didn’t last. Joel Embiid and Tyrese Maxey chipped away at the Heat’s lead even getting out to a 15-3 run to bring things within 11 and making things uncomfortable headed into the fourth.

Philly cut the deficit to eight to start the fourth expanding their run to an 18-3 run while Miami’s offense went stagnant. Thankfully an And-1 layup by Max Strus, broke up the run a little bit to get the Heat going. It was Maxey who was tonight’s Heat killer as he exploded to cut Miami’s lead back to seven. Seeing Philly claw their way back was upsetting considering how sharp the Miami defense was for most of this game.

Lowry came back in with just under nine left and his presence calmed things down on offense, but still, Philly continued to chip away on the offensive end. Thankfully PJ Tucker hit two huge threes from the corner to create a little bit of space. PJ’s presence has been huge lately, when he’s not banging with bigger bodies in the paint he’s showing off a smooth stroke from three. It’s impressive and he’s getting the praise he deserves.

Philly and Miami would trade looks down the stretch, but it was Danny Green who’d cause pain for Heat fans once again after all these years as he trimmed the lead to just four and gave Philly total momentum.

Tobias Harris hit a huge three to tie things up, but a big charge by Dedmon put things back in Miami’s control. Gabe Vincent went on to hit a huge three (his seventh of the game) to get Miami back out ahead with less than a minute to go. Embiid missed a look in the following possession giving the Heat a chance to end things but a botched possession that ended in a Gabe Vincent backcourt violation gave Philly a chance with 6.7 seconds left to tie the game. Embiid took a three, but the miss kept Miami ahead and sent Lowry to the line after grabbing the board where he’d put the finishing touches on a Miami win that was a rollercoaster of emotions towards the end.