After going down quickly to the Miami Heat 2 games to 0, the Sixers have forced their way back into the mix to essentially create a brand new three game series. A series in which they will need to steal a game in Miami in order to advance to the next round.
This swing in momentum has largely been due to Embiid’s presence on both offense and defense. Embiid will play the rest of the series with a torn ligament in his thumb and a fractured orbital bone. While the Sixers scoring has definitely gone up with Embiid’s return, the defensive change has been even more impressive.
Embiid became the first center since Shaq in 2000 to lead the league in scoring, so it’s tough to argue against his value on offense, but Embiid sticking Victor Oladipo in game 4 was a sight to see.
Embiid had Oladipo in HELLpic.twitter.com/FG4MxVm619
— Barstool Philly (@BarstoolPhilly) May 9, 2022
Since Embiid’s return, the red hot Heat have gone cold. In game 3, the Sixers held the Heat to 79 points, tying their season low. In game 4, the Heat managed to break 100 but still struggled to shoot the ball for the majority of the night as they finished shooting 20% from three point range and 46% from the field.
Bam Adebayo who was a force to be reckoned with in the first part of this series, has been shut down. Adebayo only put up 9 points in game 3 and was stuffed on many occasions by the runner up MVP. Tyler Herro, the sixth man of the year, lit the Sixers up in Miami but spent his two games in Philadelphia taking nothing but contested shots.
The only player that is beating the Sixers right now is former 76er Jimmy Butler which is something that we can all live with.
The Heat struggling to score could very well be due to the hostile environment in Philly, but their overall defense got much better leading them right back into this series. If the Sixers win game 5 watch out, we might be partying in Philadelphia on May 12.
Photo via Matt Slocum – Associated Press