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PHILADELPHIA – Perhaps the pressure of the foam was not negligible.
The Miami Heat will return to the Eastern Conference fixtures, where it will face defending Milwaukee Bucks (who lead their series 3-2) or the Boston Celtics. On Thursday, the Heat defeated the Philadelphia 76ers in Game 6 of their series at the Eastern Conference, turning one game into a fine victory after a 19-4 run to start third.
Here are the notes, numbers and film from the 99-90 victory that set Heat in the final session of the conference for the ninth time in 34 seasons of accreditation:
1. Big Game Jimmy
Jimmy Butler’s evil game has what, for some, can be wrong. Among the 217 players who have tried at least 200 goals from outside the league in the regular season, it was Jalen Suggs (32.9%) and Anthony Davis (34.5%) who had the lowest goals in the game than the Heat star (36.9%).
But Butler’s jumper wasn’t too bad in the postseason, and he didn’t have to do tons of outss to be able to read the 27.5 points list. After scoring 5-for-16 in Game 1, he scored 30 points on 54% shooting in the last five games, running with 32 points from 13-for-29 in 6 games.
Butler scored in a number of ways, including selection and transition:
It was a game (in the gym) that both local and former players appreciate Butler’s ability to come out on top in the big leagues.
“I had no idea how good Jimmy was until I got here,” PJ Tucker said. “I thought he was a good player. I didn’t think he was that good. I thought, ‘He’s fine.’
“He shows me more than I think… His heart, how he doesn’t threaten the moment. And that alone is a skill, because I’ve played with guys who are really good, but when it comes to big times, they get embarrassed and don’t really want it. And they want every step every minute. He is not afraid at all. And he puts it [fearlessness] on the team of most guys in our team. He does give them confidence, in a wonderful way, but he does. ”
“I still do not know how we left him,” Joel Embiid said of Butler. “I wish I had gone to fight him.”
2. Small contracts, large donations
One guy does not win the list. And when the Heat brought Kyle Lowry last summer to help Butler back, the former veteran played just 56 minutes (in vain) in two Miami losses, battling a hamstring injury that could keep him from progressing. (The good news in this case? With Dallas pushing for Game 7 and Phoenix, Game 1 final Eastern Conference will not be until Tuesday.)
Bam Adebayo was very protective, especially when it came to banning Embiid from painting. Tucker was just as critical of his defense as his offense at the time. But, back at the beginning of this season, the duo (and Butler) are obviously expected to be very helpful.
Max Strus and Gabe Vincent? Not so much.
Both boys had two contracts last season. They are all in a small business this season, and no one has guaranteed money next year. But everyone started winning all four of the Heat on the list.
Strus, starting at the end of March, scored 39 points and 21 rebounds in the last two games, recording twice his career.
You could bring in expensive assistants (like Butler) to lead you, but the ability to raise guys like Strus and Vincent is what separates the best league franchises from the rest.
“That’s all the Miami Heat is saying,” Butler said of Strus and Vincent. “They play hard. They are not selfish at all. And most of all, he just wants to be successful. ”
3. Do not freeze
For the third time in this series, Heat caught Sixers under every point. Embiid was playing in pain and, with the Heat’s defense, was unable to catch the ball near the basket.
The Sixers have another star, but James Harden could not climb, only scoring 11 points in a 4-for-9 shot Thursday. With Philly just one point from the middle and half in the second half, Harden had no results, shooting 0-for-2 and adding four assists and three turns.
After the Sixers fell into the number two pitfall, Shake Milton ran slightly at the end of the third. And at the time, it seemed that Harden was happy to leave the man who did not play at the beginning of the series.
“We managed our mistakes,” Harden said. “The ball never came back to me.”
The Heat went down against Harden several times during the game, showing him the crowd when he separated or exited the window. And sometimes he made the right play. But in Game 6, he was probably just silent on the guy making $ 44 million.
That’s why another postseason comes to an end and Harden is still proving that, like Butler, he can come as a senior in the big game. And surprisingly, with his team’s season on the line, Harden won over the guy – PJ Tucker – who stood in the corner and watched him shake the Rockets.
4. New PJ Tucker
Tucker, who finished last in the league in three straight seasons (2018-19 to ’20 -21) has no regrets for his performance in Houston.
He said: “It was very easy, and no one could guard it and it was one of the best cases ever. So that was very good. “
But in his first season in Miami, he showed he could do a lot of frustration. Not only doubled the number of goals scored from last season, he also registered a top-level job to help, capturing assistants with 10.7% of players’ goals while on the ground.
This was not part of Tucker’s plans when he arrived. But when the Heat demanded him to increase his role, he found something.
“What we try to do more than anything is just to be comfortable with the players and the opportunity and not put the roof down,” said Heat coach Erik Spoelstra before Game 6. “And to be honest, we had a lot of injuries, especially in December and January, we needed his play.
“He was able to get us to run well and we were able to do something that helped our shooters with our expensive games and everything, which makes sense. If you are a very defensive IQ player, you can often add something to your plate frustratingly.”
“I have the right to play,” added Tucker. “I like to open up to the guys. I like to shoot Max first, make him go. And it’s part of my role to achieve this.”
Tucker was only assisted by one Thursday, but as we have seen, he won Harden 12-11, with one non-Houston-Tucker bucket coming out of Strus:
Tucker can now face the team that won the tournament 10 months ago.
“Fate, isn’t it?” Tucker said about this. “And what do they call it? It’s like a disaster. ”
5. Six people go fishing
The list could be different if Embiid did not miss the first two games or was 100% healthy for the other four. And there is no shame (not as embarrassing as a social networking site) being in one of the four best groups in your organization.
But when you have someone who has finished voting for the MVP and reselling the second highest paid player in the league, you have won the competition. The Sixers failed to achieve that goal and have yet to reach the end of the conference in the five rounds of the playoffs with Embiid.
“I got to the end of the game,” said Sixers coach Doc Rivers, “that we couldn’t beat Miami.”
This should have been two years with Harden and Embiid, but the former did not take advantage of his playing career when he was sold from Brooklyn. He may still be able to exercise before June 30, but if he does not, things will be interesting, because he did not look like a player who should get another successful contract.
When asked about the contract decision, Harden said, “I’ll be here” without mentioning his way back to Philly.
Listen to yourself.
John Schuhmann is an expert at NBA.com. You can email her here, find her notes here and follow him on Twitter.
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