Joel Embiidprotected with a mask, returned to the lineup of the 76ers after missing the first two games of the Eastern Conference semifinal against Miami Heat and facilitated the victory of the Philadelphians 99-79 with a double double of 18 points and 11 rebounds.
With the victory on Friday night, the Heat they remain ahead in the tie 2-1. But the Sixers they managed to stop the feet of the Heat who had prevailed forcefully in the first two games by taking advantage of the absence of Embolitewho suffered a broken orbit in his right eye on April 28.
Although Embolite He arrived at the game at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia after spending almost a week without training, the pvot was the only player of the two teams that finished the night with a double double.
The leading scorer of the game was the star of the Heat, Jimmy Butler, who scored 33 points, 9 rebounds and 2 assists. only Tyler Herro in the Heat he surpassed the ten points. Herro, who once again started the game from the bench, scored 14 points, 4 rebounds and 1 assist.
In the Sixersthe top scorers were Danny Green y Tyrese Maxey, who each made 21 points. In addition, James Harden add 17 points, 8 rebounds and 6 assists.
The victory of the Sixers was built on the defensive intensity that forced the players of the Heat to forced shots and to the limit for much of the match. The presence of Embolite He also helped in attack and from the beginning of the game, the Sixers They were aggressive in front of the basket of the Heat.
Miami can take comfort in the thought that despite having one of their worst nights in shooting, only 7 of 30 in triples and 27 of 77 in field goals, at the end of the third quarter they were only 3 points, 68- 65, of the Sixers.
After losing the first two games of the semifinals in Miami, the Sixers knew that losing the third game would pretty much end their chances of advancing. The Philadelphia team decided on the same Friday that Embolite will play despite having a literally broken face and a torn ligament in the thumb of his right hand.
Con Embiid y Harden on the court, the Sixers imposed their rhythm from the initial jump. Embolite attracted several defenders which allowed the Sixers to move the ball and find the free man, who on many occasions was Danny Green in one of the corners of the field.
With 4.27 remaining in the first quarter, the Sixers dominated the scoreboard with a 16-8 after a 12-2 run at the hands of Embolite y Harden.
Those in Miami could not count on the usual points of Butler, P.J. Tucker o Bam Abedayo and only the entrance of Herro, who had 6 points in 6 minutes, allowed the Heat to cut the Sixers’ lead to 4 points, 21-17, at the end of the first quarter.
The second quarter followed the same pattern, with both teams concentrating on defense and making it difficult for shooters to find space.
Butler he got a little more excited and scored 8 points in the period, 6 more than in the first quarter.
In the SixersGreen was still in tune from long distance and made the two triples he attempted. Harden add another 6 points but Embolite it stayed at zero.
At the break, the scoreboard reflected the difficulties that the defenses were creating for the shooters: 41-34.
On resumption, Sixers they reached their biggest lead to date, 14 points, thanks to a new triple by Green that made it 48-34 on the scoreboard.
But the reaction of Butler allowed the Sixers’ lead to be cut to just one point in 4 minutes, 51-50. Butler scored 10 of the Heat’s 16 points in those 4 minutes. The other 6 came from two triples of Max Strus.
Miami managed to finish the third quarter just three points behind, 68-65, thanks to Butler’s 14 points in that period.
But in the last quarter, Maxey appeared and the Sixers did not give any option to the Heat. The Philadelphians opened the last 12 minutes with a 10-2 run that put the score at 78-67 with 8 minutes remaining in the game.
Maxey found his place and would end up scoring 14 of the 31 points of the Sixers in the last quarter, of which 12 were the result of the 4 triples he attempted. In addition, the guard gave two assists and stole a ball in the 10 minutes he was on the court during the last quarter.
Maxey he had as many points in the fourth quarter as the entire Heat had in that span. When they sound the final buzzer, the scoreboard reflected a clear victory for the locals, 99-79.
The fourth game of the semifinal will be played on Sunday, also in Philadelphia.