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The Miami Heat were in the driver’s seat heading into Game 3, leading the Philadelphia 76ers with a 2-0 series lead, but now after back-to-back losses in Philadelphia, the series is now tied at 2-2. The tables have turned dramatically in the Heat-76ers series when Joel Embiid made his return in game 3 while recovering from a concussion and a fractured orbital bone.
Embiid might not be 100% healthy, but his presence alone on the court seems to be the difference maker for the 76ers.
The Heat now has to adjust their defensive game plan – they have to account for Embiid, which helps leave other star players open like James Harden and Tyrese Maxey. Harden had his first 30-point game of the series, and the entre playoffs for that matter – which makes it even a more daunting task for the Heat moving forward.
Miami has been ice cold in the past two playoff games in Philadelphia, especially in Game 3. The Heat arguably had one of their worst games of the entire NBA season, shooting a horrific 35% field goal percentage, which resulted in just 79 points.
Harden and Maxey got hot from the 3-point line, and really became the difference maker in Games 3 and 4, averaging an impressive 49% from downtown. Harden scored six 3-pointers, the most he has had in a game since November.
It looks like Philadelphia is coming alive at the right time, and the wrong time for Miami. Can Miami take back this series?
One thing for certain heading into Game 5 in Miami is that Eric Spoelstra is going to have to address Tyler Herro and his struggles the past two playoff games, and to counter attack Doc Rivers’ game plan against Herro.
Philadelphia 76ers’ Head Coach, Doc Rivers, came with a game plan to shut down Herro, and his heroic 3-ball— which in fact, worked out well.
Jimmy Butler, once again, carried his team on his back with another 40-point performance. Butler has been outstanding these playoffs already, and proved his worth time after time all season long.
Butler is an integral piece to this young Miami team, who not only shows leadership, but his toughness is what carries the Heat above and beyond. But Butler is going to need some help from the other Heat stars like Herro, Bam Adebayo, and possibly Lowry, who is recovering from injury.
Lowry might not be available in Game 5, for he re-injured his hamstring. His status is “iffy”, which doesn’t sound very optimistic for Lowry and his team.
This Miami Heat team has all of the championship essentials: youth, experience, and chemistry; now the question is, can they muster it all together for another NBA Finals run?