Miami Heat will play the Eastern Conference final after this Thursday they eliminated the Philadelphia 76ers (2-4) of a Joel Embiid who gave everything despite his physical problems and a very disappointing James Harden who did not score a single point in the second half (90-99).
The Sixers had to win this sixth game in Philadelphia in order not to go on vacation, but they fell apart in a third quarter (15-25) in which the Heat proved to be a much more complete, hard-working and versatile team.
Sensational one more night, Jimmy Butler led the Heat with 32 points, 8 rebounds and 4 assists.
🏀 32 PTS | 8 REB | 2 BLK pic.twitter.com/k06I0IN0Oi
— NBA (@NBA) May 13, 2022
Max Strus also stood out (20 points, 11 rebounds and 5 assists) in a Heat team that made 48.3% of their shots and crushed the Sixers in the fight for rebounds (49 to 35). Joel Embiid (20 points and 12 rebounds) and Tyrese Maxey (20 points) were the best of the Sixers in which James Harden’s laziness drew attention.
The great signing from Philadelphia, who came to the Sixers with the clear goal of fighting for the ring, closed the decisive game of the season for his franchise with 11 points (4 of 9 shots), 4 rebounds and 9 assists. The most surprising and commented thing after the game was that Harden only shot twice – and missed both attempts – in the last two quarters.
The Sixers lost for the fourth time in the past five years in their conference semifinals, though this time it may be even more painful as they have squandered the best course of Embiid’s career so far.
The Cameroonian center was very close to the MVP, who in the end Nikola Jokic won for the second time in a row, and averaged 30.6 points, 11.7 rebounds and 4.2 assists per game in the regular season. In addition to the elimination, the night left another very bad news for the Sixers with Danny Green’s knee injury after a horrible fall.
For their part, the Heat will face the winner of the semifinal between Milwaukee Bucks and Boston Celtics in the Eastern finals, who now dominate the defending NBA champions 3-2.
Miami has reached the final of its conference twice in the last three years and this season seeks to make up for the ring it lost in the 2020 “bubble” against LeBron James’s Los Angeles Lakers.