Joel Embiid didn’t have a great game by his standards. The scoring champ had 18 points and 11 rebounds but shot a poor 5-12 from the field. Yet you could see the impact that Embiid makes on the court, and it will be the reason the Sixers can come back in this series.
Let’s start with defense; the Heat scored 79 points; this is the second-lowest amount of points the Heat have scored this season. When Embiid was the primary defender on someone last night, they shot 3/11 (27.2%). Bam Adebayo, who was 9/10 when guarded by DeAndre Jordan and before last night, was averaging 23.5 points per game, shooting 15/21 (71.4%), shot 2/9 last night, and a majority of Adebayo’s shots he was settling for mid-range jumpers.
The biggest issue so far in this series has been the rebounding disparity. The Heat outrebounded the Sixers 91-71 on the glass in the first two games. In-game three, the Sixers outrebounded the Heat 44-35.
Last but not least, the spacing the shooters had: It was no secret that Georges Niang and Danny Green were struggling from the outside before game three. Both “sharpshooters” were a combined 3/24 (12.5%) from three-point land. In-Game three, they shot a combined 8-12 (66%); Danny Green went 7/9 from three, and the Sixers as a whole team shot 16/33 from three. In games one and two, they were 14/64 from three.
Yes, it is one game, but a team with Tyreese Maxey, James Harden, and Tobias Harris struggled way too much for people not to notice just how impactful Embiid is to this team. Maybe the league finally agrees, as we saw this yesterday as well:
“Kia MVP Joel Embiid.” Look at this article on https://t.co/cvLmznKTa5. ?
(h/t @basketbllnews) pic.twitter.com/I3M6DtguFl
— Hoop Central (@TheHoopCentral) May 7, 2022
“Kia MVP Joel Embiid” has a nice ring to it if you ask me.