After torching the Heat with a three-point barrage in Game 1, the Sixers weren’t as successful from beyond the arc in the second game of the series, and it ultimately cost them the game. That wasn’t the only issue on Monday night, however, as the team also dealt with some controversial officiating and a breakout performance from a former all-star. Let’s breakdown what went wrong in Game 2, and how the Sixers can bounce back when they take the floor in Miami Thursday night:
On Monday night, Dwyane Wade looked every bit of the 12x all-star that he is. Wade made his presence felt early, scoring 15 points off the bench in the second quarter alone. The veteran shooting guard dominated the Sixers with a flurry of floaters and fadeaways as he exhausted his vast basketball arsenal- to the dread of the Philly crowd. Wade’s success wasn’t limited to the first half, however, as he finished with a game-high 28 points on 11-16 shooting- including a couple late game daggers:
Vintage performance by @DwyaneWade ⚡️
Miami takes Game 2 pic.twitter.com/TnwRffWxmG
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) April 17, 2018
While it’s not surprising that a 14-year pro and 3x NBA champion had a big playoff performance, it is a little embarrassing that the Sixers allowed a 36-year old to completely dictate the pace and outcome of the game. Philly will have to do a much better job of containing D-Wade in Game 3.
Refs gonna Ref
I’m usually against including the officiating when recapping games, as referees are always going to make a few questionable calls (against both teams), but the amount of whistles blown was simply ridiculous in Game 2. The refs killed seemingly all momentum in the first half, as it was just foul call after the next. I understand that they are trying to do their jobs, but they at least have to let the teams play. Hopefully, for the Sixers’ and viewers sanity’s sake, the zebras aren’t the star of the show in Game 3 and allow the game to flow.
As I mentioned earlier, the Sixers did not have an enjoyable night from beyond the arc. There’s no point in even breaking down individual shooting performances, as Philly disappointed as an overall unit. The team shot a putrid 19.6% (7/36) from downtown as everyone’s shooting touch eluded them all night. I didn’t expect the team to sustain the success they had in Game 1, but to come out and completely wet the bed like that certainly took me by surprise. It almost goes without saying that they’ll definitely have to find their shot again in Game 3 if they want to be successful.
Short-term memory will certainly be the message preached by HC Brett Brown as he tries to get his young squad ready for battle in Miami. The team can’t afford to dwell on past games or point fingers as to why things didn’t go according to plan. They simply have to use the loss as a learning experience and bounce back to reclaim the series lead. Luckily for them, they may be getting some much needed assistance in Game 3. Sixers alpha dog Joel Embiid was seen running and shooting jumpers before Game 2, and didn’t appear limited in any way:
Additionally, Embiid posted an angry, profane Instagram post following the loss about being fed up with the way the team- training staff specifically- treats him in regards to his health:
When asked about the post, HC Brett Brown stated that he understood Embiid’s desire to be on the floor, and that the post was likely a result of his competitive nature. Regardless of why the post was made, I’d expect the Cameroonian center to suit up when they take the floor Thursday night in Miami.
Embiid’s return would obviously be a tremendous boost for the Sixers and might even dictate the outcome of the series. Hopefully he’s able to return sooner rather than later, as his absence was severely exploited in Game 2.
Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports