Heat defeat 76ers as Joel Embiid out, claim 1-0 series lead
May 3, 2022
The Philadelphia 76ers head coach Doc Rivers was not having it after Game 1 in the Eastern Conference Semifinals defeat to the Miami Heat 106-92 at FTX Arena on Monday.
“Forty-eight-minutes games are long,” Miami head coach Erik Spoelstra said, “They’re a very good team, even without Embiid.”
Rivers was also shorthanded following the absence of star forward Joel Embiid after suffering from an orbital fracture and concussion injuries. The result was nothing more but the 76ers will have to proceed at least after Game 2 as Embiid could make his return on Game 3 or 4 of the second-round playoffs, as per ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported Sunday.
In the meantime, according to The Painted Lines reporter Austin Krell, Rivers will resort to a Harden-centric strategy with more spacing while Embiid is off the court. However, Miami appeared to have successfully taken the advantage of the limping Philadelphia, by besting guard James Harden scoring productivity as the Beard only managed 16 points, five assists, and nine rebounds.
Philadelphia braces ahead of Game 2, defeat to Miami
In addition to Harden, the 76ers also tried to expand its game to the center via star center DeAndre Jordan. But visiting Miami did not go well for Philadelphia.
The Heat landed the first blow on the 76ers, leading 30-22 in the first quarter. However, in the upcoming quarter, Philadelphia got the playing field by leading 51-50 ahead of the second half.
''I didn't like how we moved the ball,'' Rivers said. ''I thought we passed late tonight. I thought the physicality affected us tonight and that had an impact. There were too many times, we'd take the extra dribble and by the time we passed it they got there.''
For Rivers and his men, forward Tobias Harris led the team’s scoring board with 27 points and followed in second by guard Tyrese Maxey who had 19 points.
The head coach then explained the third quarter was the best his men made in the game in an effort to catch up with the leading Miami.
''I liked how we fought back,'' he added. ''I liked how we came out at the beginning of the third quarter—and then I didn't like the rest of the game from that point on.''
Miami claims 1-0 lead
The game progressed to the second quarter having Miami established most of their plays in the middle through center Bam Adebayo who wrapped the game with 24 points, four assists, and 12 rebounds.
Whenever the Heat required to break to the outside, the franchise was backed by guard Tyler Herro who managed four of six three-pointers alongside racking up a team-high 25 points, seven assists, and a single rebound. His 25 points are the second most he ever made in a playoff game. His teammates in total made a combined 11 for 64 shots from deep.
“He’s a worker,” Spoelstra added. “He’s relentless.”
Herro reportedly arrived 10 hours earlier to restore and get shots after dealing with an upper respiratory issue for a few days which had disrupted his training routine.
But the aggressiveness Miami had shown in beating Philadelphia was deserving. Moreover, winning Game 2 on Wednesday is exactly what the Heat are looking for, as the franchise is keen to have two consecutive home wins.
“Getting two at home is important in the playoffs,” Adebayo said.