Also without Joel Embiid, the 76ers, abused in Game 1, are practically already forced to win this second round to avoid being cornered, 2-0 before returning, with the pressure on their shoulders, to Philadelphia.
In the first half we witness a match dominated by the Heat, effective in attack (20/40) under the pressure of Tyler Herro, who celebrates his trophy in front of his audience. Sixth man of the year with style (16 points and 5 rebounds). The 76ers have heart and give it their all, but sorely lack offensive inspiration at mid-court in the absence of Joel Embiid.
Relegated for a time to -14, Doc Rivers’ men cling, especially thanks to James Harden, very active in this first period (16 points, 3 rebounds, 5 assists). Far from giving in, but far from worrying the Heat, the 76ers somehow drop below 10 points at half time (60-52), and anything is still possible in the second period in this Race 2.
After the break, it only takes a few minutes to realize that the awakening of the 76ers is utterly utopian. Because the guests face the same problem as in the first half: their attack struggles to link up, while that of the Heat keeps a steady pace. After 36 minutes, Philadelphia still loses ground (91-80), despite a third quarter at 13 points behind Tyrese Maxey.
The last act takes place without any rebounds, especially as the 76ers sign their worst quarter game (6/18 on shots). Never really crashed before this final quarter, but never really dangerous either, Tyrese Maxey and his teammates played a slow game, but never knew how to accelerate to worry the Heat.
The Philly team lost yet again to Miami (119-103), where the Heat are still unbeaten in these playoffs. Led 2-0, the 76ers return to Pennsylvania without certainty, but hoping that Joel Embiid will return for Game 3. Because without the “Process” to oppose a minimum of resistance to the Heat, it is the sweep that looms.
WHAT YOU MUST REMEMBER
– Still no Duncan Robinson. Locked on the bench in Game 1, the winger entered for a few seconds, in the last moments of this second game. It now seems clear that Erik Spoelstra has chosen, for the rest of the series, to “sacrifice” Duncan Robinson’s outside shot in favor of Victor Oladipo’s more reliable defensive profile, being the former Hoosier more capable of withstanding the duels against James Harden and Tyrese Maxey Largo.
– The 76ers forced to play “small ball”. In the absence of Joel Embiid, it was DeAndre Jordan who started between the first two games of this series. In Game 1, the former Clippers pivot was decent, with 4 points and 2 rebounds in 17 minutes (and a +/- of -22). In this second game he did better, with 6 points and 5 rebounds in 13 minutes. But overall he didn’t bring anything, because he was useless in attack, and limited in defense by his inability to “change”. So Doc Rivers stopped the experiment and turned to young Paul Reed for the remainder of the meeting. Smaller and less impressive in front of the circle, DePaul’s strong college winger is more mobile than his teammate, however, and brings a little more stability to the 76ers’ defense.
TOP / FLOPS
✅ Tyler Herro. Great match for the brand new Sixth man of the year of the league. In the continuity of his lucky Race 1, he has accumulated 18 points (6/10), of which 16 scored in the first half, 7 rebounds and 3 assists, still from the bench.
✅ Tyrese Maxey. The young 76ers full-back was exemplary, and was the one element that really upset the Heat’s defense. He finished Game 2 with 34 points (12/22, 9/11 on free throws), 3 rebounds and 2 steals, with an impeccable attitude on both sides of the pitch, and his usual racket aggression.
✅ Jimmy Butler. After a failed 2021 edition, the Miami winger is catching up in these 2022 playoffs. Very good in the first round against the Hawks, he continues against the 76ers. Omnipresent in this Game 2, he has collected 22 points, 6 rebounds and 12 assists in 37 minutes, and the second best +/- of his team (+22).
⛔️ Danny Green. Very difficult evening for the veteran winger, who was painful to see during this match. In 23 minutes he scored only 3 points, 1/10 on shots, of which 1/9 from behind the arc. Useful during the 2019 and 2020 playoffs, when he won the title twice in a row with the Raptors and then with the Lakers, the former Tar Heel is only a shadow of himself. Completely recovered in defense, messy on 3 points, at the moment he is unable to bring anything to the 76ers. Still hoping for a comeback soon, both for his confidence and for Philadelphia’s survival in the series.
Game 3: in Philadelphia, Friday through Saturday night at 1:00 am