The Sixers had a chance to tie the series 1-1 but failed to do so due to another lackluster performance last night. The 76ers did not play with the energy or effort needed to compete against the Heat, leading to an embarrassing defeat.
Where it all went wrong
The three-point shooting was again an issue as the Sixers shot 8/30 and only 26%. Tyrese Maxey (34 points) and Tobias Harris (21 points) led the way combining for 55. 38 of those came in a second-half rally, but with the rest of the team going missing, including James Harden, it was always going to be a tall Mountain to climb. The team also struggled to get stops when needed, but there were three takeaways from this game that stuck out.
(Stop me if you heard these before)
Head Coach Doc Rivers continues to roll out DeAndre Jordan as the starting center for the Sixers. Although starting him did not initially hurt the team, the Heat found their way quickly to exploit the big man. It was either isolation with Bam or putting Jordan in the Pick & Roll as it opened up open shots from the mid-range.
The Paul Reed or small-ball lineup with Tobias Harris playing the center position continues to present itself as the best lineup for the team. Doc Rivers not wanting to play these lineups, held the Sixers from making a real push to win this game.
Sixers Wings are Unplayable:
Matisse Thybulle gives you nothing offensively and now struggles to defend.
Furkan Korkmaz showed a glimpse but continues to be inconsistent in his play and is a defensive liability.
Georges Niang continues to struggle from three, going 1-3 before fouling out the game after playing only 10 minutes.
Danny Green continues his cold shooting going 1-9 from three.
We all have to accept that James Harden is not who he once was at this point in his career. The lack of explosiveness and being able to get past defenders makes it difficult for him to play his game. As fans, we want James Harden to be more aggressive and take more shots like the star he is.
It’s very clear now that he is just unable to do that for this team. Harden had moments in the game where he tried to spark a run, but it just was not enough as he could not constantly provide the offense needed to will this team to a victory.
Harden played 41 minutes which you could say at times took an effect on him as his energy and effort lowered as the game continued. James finished the game with 20 points, 4 rebounds, 9 assists, shooting 40% from the field and 20% from 3pt. These are solid numbers for a secondary or role player but are not enough for this team to get a win against this Miami heat team.
The Sixers are not out of this series, and the Heat did their job defending their home court. The series now shifts to Philadelphia, where the team will look to finally get a win and be one step closer to tying this series up. Being in front of the home crowd should definitely boost the confidence of the team. The shooting will also improve eventually, and there’s no better place to do so than back in Philadelphia.
Photo Credit: AP Photo/Marta Lavandier