In a very physical game, the Sixers failed to bring the intensity against the Miami Heat and will head back to Philly empty-handed.
It was clear from the jump that the Sixers didn’t have the energy to compete tonight. Save for Tobias Harris; the entire team was disengaged. It’s highly disappointing to see that from a team that’s fighting for the top seed in the Eastern Conference.
Speaking of, the Miami Heat, who rank 29th in the NBA in rebounds per game, out-rebounded the Sixers by 17. It was a real testament to their effort and hustle. The Sixers were bullied this game, and they failed to rise to the occasion.
Erik Spoelstra knew just how to get the Sixers off their game. By implementing a zone defense and double-teaming as soon as Philly touched the ball, Spoelstra force the Sixers to shoot, which is not their forte. The Sixers shot a paltry 29.2% from deep while the Heat hit for 37.1%.
Cleary the Heat feel confident in how they match up against the Sixers, and if tonight’s game is any indicator (it is), you can’t blame them. It’s not an ideal matchup for Philly, but it’s one that they have to be prepared for if they’re to make it to the Finals.
The playoffs aren’t for the faint of heart, as the Sixers should have learned by now. They cannot play a single game with the effort, or lack thereof, they displayed tonight. Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons especially need to show a willingness, a desire to win.
The team will have yet another chance to clinch the top seed in the East tomorrow night at home against the Orlando Magic. They have two more chances to secure the number one seed, both at home against Orlando. If they cannot close the season out in the right fashion, questions will abound heading into the postseason.