After the brilliance of the Formula 1 Grand Prix won by Max Verstappen on Sunday night in the presence, in particular, of Michael Jordan and Dwyane Wade, a new great sports evening is announced in Miami for the night from Tuesday to Wednesday. A crucial Game 5 will pit the home Heat against Philadelphia.
The Sixers, who seemed on the ropes, have raised their heads since the return of Joel Embiid. Comeback confirmed on the night of Sunday to Monday for a second consecutive success at home against the Floridians (116-108). The Eastern Conference semifinal series is now tied (2-2). The Philadelphia All-Stars duo made the difference against an all too lonely Jimmy Butler (40 points, 13/20, 6 assists).
“Nothing has really changed. I just put in my shots. »
“Nothing has really changed. I just put my shots in.”, breathed James Harden in the only moment of the evening in which he lacked lucidity. Because if everything has changed for the Sixers, it is precisely because their leader has finally set his sights on him after a shaky start to the play-off campaign. Harden stood out in the decisive moments, accumulating 31 points (16 in the fourth quarter) in 8 of 18 shots, including a nice 6/10 in 3 points, plus 7 rebounds and 9 assists in 41 minutes.
Season MVP runner-up Embiid, who wears a hard mask so he can play after being sidelined with a thumb injury and orbital fracture, added 24 points and 11 rebounds.
Miami down three points
Despite the clumsiness, on the Heat side, of Kyle Lowry (3/10, 0/6 in 3 points, 6 points, 7 assists, 4 stray shots), still hampered by hip and adductor failures, Tyler Herro (4/12, 11 points) and Víctor Oladipo (3/9, 15 points), in addition to the absence of Duncan Robinson, not aligned, Miami was still in the game a few minutes from the buzzer (101-106, 45th) . The moment Harden chose to draw two of the “steps back” from him, his signature 3-point shot. Enough to distance the Floridians – with whom only Bam Adebayo, apart from Butler, kept his position (21 points, 9/12, 7 rebounds, 4 assists) – for good.
The success of the Heat to 3 points, a catastrophic 7 of 35 from long distance (38% in the regular season), which largely explains Miami’s defeat against the Sixers, author of a very clean 16 of 33 in the exercise.
Erik Spoelstra’s men didn’t have much to look forward to with such a low triple hit (7/35). Opposite, the return of Embiid rebalanced the game of the Sixers, more bleeding in defense, and freed up spaces, such as the direction found by Danny Green. The three-time NBA champion (2014 with San Antonio, 2019 with Toronto, 2020 with the LA Lakers) in a long-distance shooter defense role, maintains a brilliant 10 of 13 to 3 points in the last two games (7/9 and 21 points in a 99-79 Game 3 win, 3/4 and 11 points on Sunday night).
Tuesday’s clash promises to be a hot one, as the Sixers duo is in high spirits. “I don’t think we played our best basketball,” the Cameroonian center even announced at the end of Sunday’s game.