heat vs. 76ers Score, Fast Score: Joel Embiid’s defensive and emotional presence brings Philly back to the series

Well, we have a chain. With Joel Embiid back in action, the Philadelphia 76ers beat the Miami Heat 99-79 in Game Three of Friday’s second-round game, reducing Miami’s lead to 2-1 before Game Four on Sunday.

Here are three points from Philly’s victory.

1. Joel Embiid saves the day

Embiid wasn’t his best, but he was a massive presence at both ends as he scored 18 points and 11 rebounds. It is no coincidence that Miami scored only 79 points. Only 28 of those came in the paint, down from the 47 drawing points Miami had scored over its first two games.

You can see hackers in Miami think twice about dealing with Embiid inside. That left the onus on the shooters, and it didn’t go well with Miami finishing 7 for 30 from behind the arc.

In today’s language, the versatility of the center, its ability to protect the edge And Dealing with itself on the periphery, it has become our main measure of influence. Sometimes just a head-to-head individual defense still matters, and Pam Adebayo, the fulcrum of many Miami favorites, can’t do anything with Embiid.

Adebayo finished with nine points and three rebounds, and only one pass in particular. Without firing Adebayo at his usual level, The Heat had to create more individually. No one was up to the challenge but Jimmy Butler, who finished the game with 33 points but didn’t get enough help because Tyler Hero was the only other Heat player to score double digits.

Offensively, although Embiid couldn’t find his mid-range touch, the attention he’s getting at least somewhere freed James Harden from the waves of defenders he encountered during his first two games. Miami still fielded doubles at Harden, mostly in the second half, but with two defensive interests, third wheel Teresa Maxi had the money time, scoring 14 of his 21 points (all of which came in the second half) in the fourth quarter.

On his own, the emotional impulse provided by Embiid was evident. crowd. teammates. When your MVP candidate, who already suffers from a concussion, is right there in a Zorro face mask because he has a broken orbital bone, as well as a torn thumb ligament that will require off-season surgery, you’re going for an adrenaline high ride. Embiid is a beast. He showed it again on Friday, and now it’s a series.

2. Hello, Danny Green

Glad to show you! Having scored 2-14 of 3 over his first two games, Green tied his playoff career with 21 points on a 7-of-9 3-point shot in Game 3. That’s one shy of Allen Iverson’s match record in the elimination match.

He’s done his job of corners, a key to unlocking Philly’s pick and roll where defenders can’t just let this post sink (as they can do when Matisse Thybulle’s corner camp).

I’m going to go out on a limb and say if Green manages to make as many three points as the entire Heat team in Game 4 again, that streak will be tied up on Sunday night.

3. James Harden’s temperature check

Harden finished with 17 points in a 4 of 11 shootout. He was 1 for 7 of 3. He accumulated seven turnovers. He managed to make his way to the free throw line eight times, sinking them all. Harden still doesn’t create much leverage on the slopes against stationary defences. Obviously, he’s not going to turn into the goalscorer he used to be. I liked that when he didn’t have a knock on the attack/half of the early transition, he attacked and stood on the edge or the line. This is where he can still do damage, with stars up against an unstable defense.

As mentioned earlier, Harden still sees a double and remains a top-tier gamemaker, which is his main value these days. With Embiid back, simply lowering his turnover would be a huge raise going forward. A few steps back will actually go a very long way.

I find myself wondering what Doc Rivers had in mind by not astonishing Harden’s minutes with Embiid. The two rested together and made some pretty bad Philadelphia properties. I suppose Rivers likes these two together; My guess is that he knows Harden can’t be as creative as he used to on his own, and is now more reliant on a two-player game to perform at the elite level, perhaps also giving Rivers Maxi a chance to cook as a top choice sans Embiid and Harden.

But things didn’t go well for some of the special stretches on Friday, and I’d be curious to see if Rivers sticks to the same spreading tactics as Sunday.

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