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Heat shut down Sixers 120-85, take 3-2 series lead

Miami blew the game open with an 18-4 run to open the fourth quarter.

Philadelphia 76ers v Miami Heat - Game Five Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images

Tyrese Maxey made a 3-pointer in the closing seconds of the third quarter in Game 5 of the Miami Heat’s second-round series against the Philadelphia 76ers. It cut Miami’s lead to 81-66 entering the final frame. And Jimmy Butler subbed out of the game with 45.7 seconds left in the third.

But when the fourth quarter opened, Butler was back on the floor. He found Max Strus for back-to-back buckets in the first minute of the period. The Heat went up 88-66.

The Heat kept the momentum going, starting the fourth on an 18-4 run. Doc Rivers sent his starters to the bench with 8:18 left in the game. Miami won the crucial Game 5 120-85, now just one win away from a trip to the Eastern Conference Finals.

The Heat dominated this game from the opening minutes, as Butler continued his superb series against his former team. He got to his spots to score. Max Strus shook off his two bad games in Philadelphia with two first-quarter 3s.

Aside from the good offensive start, Bam Adebayo played great defense against Joel Embiid. He fronted him to prevent him from getting the ball and avoided cheap foul calls. The Heat also sent a defender to crowd Embiid’s space before he even got the ball.

Embiid took a shot to the face midway through the second quarter after Dewayne Dedmon took a swipe at the ball, but remained in the game. Embiid finished with 17 points, and the Sixers shot just 9-of-32 from 3-point range. Even Maxey, who has constantly found his way to easy buckets against the Heat, shot just 2-of-10 from the field. Tuesday night’s game was an excellent defensive performance from Miami.

Butler led the Heat with 23 points on 9-of-15 shooting from the field including 2-of-4 from downtown, nine rebounds and six assists. The move from Spoelstra to put Butler back in the game to open the fourth worked out perfectly; the Heat increased their lead, which allowed the six-time All-Star to rest during garbage time.

Kyle Lowry missed the game with his hamstring injury from the first-round series, but it seemed Miami was better off without him considering how limited Lowry looked in Games 3 and 4. (As an aside, Gabe Vincent both started the game and played in garbage time.)

Oladipo and Strus both gave Miami some offensive punch while the game was still in the balance. Strus finished with 19 points and 10 rebounds while Oladipo chipped in 13 points, 11 of which came in the first half. Tyler Herro didn’t score his first field goal until the third quarter, but Miami didn’t miss a beat.

Aside from his great defense on James Harden, P.J. Tucker made both of his 3-point attempts and dished out seven assists. Tucker offered his usual intensity and effort that had the Sixers on their heels all night long.

Spoelstra went to Duncan Robinson for a first-half stint, but he logged a turnover and a missed 3-pointer. Robinson made a 3 when he checked back in during the fourth quarter.

The Heat will look to close out the Sixers Thursday night at 7 p.m.