HEAT-SIXERS GAME 4 PREVIEW: Miami looks to rebound victory on Sunday

The Miami Heat look to bounce back against the Philadelphia 76ers in Game 4 of the second-round series on Sunday at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Miami, which leads 2-1 in the series, had a lackluster Game 3, losing 99-79, on the road Friday. The boring offensive performance came as Miami shot 35.1% from the floor – its worst mark in the playoffs – including 7-of-30 (23.3%) from 3-point range, second-worst 3-point exit from these playoffs.

The Heat posted a true shooting percentage of 45.1 on Friday, their worst in the playoffs since Game 3 of the 2015-16 first-round series between the Heat and the Charlotte Hornets, where they scored just 80 points on 34.2/31.8/63.3 shot splits. (43.4 TS%).

Miami had just 75.0 half-court points per 100 half-court games (3rd percentile) in Friday’s 20-point loss, its fourth-worst mark of the season and worst in the playoffs, according to Cleaning The Glass. He recorded an above-ideal 84.0 percent of his possessions (28th percentile) in half court; for perspective, although this is a smaller sample of the playoffs, the league average rate that teams spend in the half court is 81.7% (up to 5/6) . The league average over the five playoff seasons previously ranged between 80 and 83 percent.

The Heat, while posting the league’s 7th best non-waste offense (115.3 ORTG), were considerably less productive in the half court – an often glaring struggle they had throughout the regular season. . Here’s their playoff game-by-game score in such situations, producing a combined 93.6 points per 100 games (12th-best) in eight postseason games.

  • Game 1 vs. Hawks: 126.4 per 100 games (98th percentile)
  • Game 2 vs. Hawks: 95.2 (56th percentile)
  • Game 3 vs. Hawks: 85.4 (15th percentile)
  • Game 4 vs. Hawks: 85.9 (18th percentile)
  • Game 5 vs. Hawks: 90.9 (34th percentile)
  • Game 1 vs. Sixers: 87.2 (20th percentile)
  • Game 2 vs. Sixers: 107.2 (81st percentile)
  • Game 3 vs. Sixers: 75.0 (3rd percentile)

Not great.

Stepping away from negatives momentarily, Jimmy Butler led the team with 33 points on 12 of 22 with nine rebounds, two assists and two steals.

All the others? Just 46 points on 15-for-55 shooting (27.3%) with six 3-pointers on 25 attempts. Butler was one of two double-digit scorers for the Heat — the other being Tyler Herro, who had 14 points on 5-of-15 shooting.

Danny Green and Tyrese Maxey both led the Sixers with 21 points apiece; Green gave Heat fans PTSD flashbacks from the Heat-Spurs NBA Finals series, knocking down seven of his nine triples, tying his career high in the playoffs. Maxey, meanwhile, totaled his 21 points in the second half, including 14 in the 4th quarter – as many points as the Heat had in the period alone.

In his highly anticipated return, Joel Embiid – playing with a fractured orbital bone and a fractured finger on his right hand (shooting hand) – had a resounding impact. He had 18 points on 5-of-12 shooting with 11 rebounds, hurting several shots and keeping Heat players away from taking shots they would have otherwise fired.

Here’s a comparison of Miami’s shot chart with Embiid on the floor versus when he was gone (throughout the series) by NBA.com.

Embiid On (20-54; 37.0 FG%):

Lots of red.

A sea of ​​red, plus a bit of green… at the edge??

Embiid off (60-131, 45.8FG%):

Not as much red.

Less red. Greener. Better results! (Although the largest sample.)

Again, overall: not great.

In summary, perhaps the Heat’s most optimal formula for scoring with Embiid on the ground is in transition or before Philadelphia sets up their defense, even if that feeds Philly’s total possession and starting mentality, it is exploited throughout this series.

Sunday will be another test for both teams – can Miami prevail?



  • Dewayne Dedmon (cold) – DOUBTFUL*
  • Tyler Herro (sprained left ankle) – DOUBTFUL*
  • Kyle Lowry (left hamstring strain) – QUESTIONABLE*
  • Caleb Martin (sprained left ankle) – DOUBTFUL*
  • Max Strus (straight hamstring strain) – QUESTIONABLE*
  • PJ Tucker (right calf sprain) – QUESTIONABLE*
  • Gabe Vincent (right knee irritation) – QUESTIONABLE*


  • Joel Embiid (facial fracture, sprained right thumb) – DOUBTFUL**
  • Isaiah Joe (sprained right ankle) – QUESTIONABLE

* – I guess they are active, unless there is a big enough setback. If we’ve learned anything about tagging a Heat player with the “dodgy” tag so common during these playoffs: They’re playing and ready whenever Spo calls their number. They probably would have been kicked out the day before if they weren’t.

** – I guess Embiid also plays (with the mask, obviously), except for anything meaningful.

Projected starters

Tyrese Maxey PG Kyle Lowry
James Harden SG Duncan Robinson
Danny Green SF Jimmy Butler
Tobias Harris PF P.J. Tucker
Joel Embid VS Bam Adebayo


  • Sixers -1.5 (-110)

  • Total: 207.5
  • Moneyline: Sixers -130, Heat +115


  • Jimmy Butler points + assists: 30 or more (+125)

  • Bam Adebayo double-double: Yes (+180)
  • Max Strus scoring first team points: Yes (+650)
  • Tyler Herro 3-pointers made: 3 or more (+150)
  • Total Round Score: Over 105.5 points (+130)
  • Round victory margin: five points or more (+205)


WEATHER: 8:00 p.m. ET


RADIO: The Ticket 790AM & The HEAT Radio Network (Jason Jackson, Ruth Riley Hunter)

SPANISH RADIO: WAQI 710AM & The HEAT Spanish Radio Network (José Pañeda, Joe Pujala)

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