With seven minutes left in Game 2 of the Miami Heat’s second-round series with the Philadelphia 76ers, Max Strus hit a corner 3-pointer. Miami went up 99-86, forcing Doc Rivers to call a timeout. On Miami’s next trip down the floor, Jimmy Butler leaked out after a Tyler Herro screen to connect on an alley-oop.
Danny Green couldn’t answer with a missed 3, but Victor Oladipo nailed a corner 3 to put the Heat up 104-86 with 5:32 left to go.
And after some frustrating plays from Tyrese Maxey to cut Miami’s lead, Oladipo made another 3 with 1:39 left. The Heat held on to defeat the Sixers 119-103 and take a commanding 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven series.
In some ways, this game resembled Game 1. Miami went on a run in the third quarter to build a double-digit lead, one that was comfortable enough that both teams emptied their benches in the closing minutes. This time, Duncan Robinson checked in for the final 55 seconds after not playing in Game 1.
The Heat’s dynamic duo of Butler and Adebayo paced Miami. Adebayo scored a team-high 23 points on 7-of-11 shooting from the field and 9-of-11 shooting from the foul line to go along with nine rebounds. His pedestrian offensive performance from the first round appears firmly in the rear-view mirror, as Adebayo dominated in the paint against a Sixers team without Joel Embiid.
Butler added 22 points on 8-of-15 shooting from the field, 12 rebounds, six assists and two steals. The six-time All-Star struggled in Game 1, not appearing to have his lift back after missing the first-round Game 5 clincher with a knee injury. But Butler looked much more comfortable Wednesday night from the jump.
Count how many times Jimmy faked out the defender pic.twitter.com/TT5A0rQlsB— Miami HEAT (@MiamiHEAT) May 4, 2022
The one glaring issue for the Heat to address is how to maintain Maxey, who also succeeded against Miami in the regular season. The second-year guard put up 34 points and used his quickness to get in the paint and draw fouls or score layups. In this series, he’s caused more problems than James Harden, who shot 6-of-15 from the field Wednesday night.
Another issue came when Tyler Herro committed two costly turnovers in the fourth quarter that led to transition points both times and cut into a healthy Heat lead. Herro had a good game Wednesday night — 18 points on 6-of-10 shooting including three 3s and seven rebounds — but the Heat can’t afford those costly turnovers in closer games.
Oladipo chipped in 19 points for the Heat, including several key baskets in the fourth quarter and 3-of-4 shooting from beyond the arc. In Game 1, Miami’s lineups with Butler and Oladipo struggled to create the spacing to score. But if the two-time All-Star knocks down 3s at a respectable clip, it won’t be an issue. (We also will need to see how Kyle Lowry’s return impacts Oladipo’s position in the rotation.)
The Heat will visit the Sixers for Game 3 Friday night at 7 p.m.