76ers Rout Heat 128-108 To Take A 2-1 Series Lead

Game 3 Piece Of Cake With The Return Of Embiid

In an epic game 3 showdown, the Philadelphia 76ers defeated the Miami Heat 128-108 to take a (2-1) series lead. Joel Embiid returned to the lineup after missing ten consecutive games. The 7-foot big man provided the 76ers with an offensive spark by scoring 23 points while shooting .45.5 percent from the field.

Return Of The Mask

The 76ers looked like a completely different team with their star big man in the lineup. Throughout the game, the Heat struggled to find an answer for Embiid. Miami tried to defend the masked man with multiple players like James Johnson, Josh Richardson, Hassan Whiteside and Justice Winslow. However, none of the Heat players were successful at the task at hand. Prior to Embiids return, some people questioned whether or not he should return. But after game 2 it is clear that the 76ers need him in order to win this series.

ADVERTISEMENT - Support our writers | Turn off ad blockers

Last night, the Sixers shot .50.6 percent from the field and held the Heat to 108 points. Granted 108 is a lot for an NBA playoff game but Philadelphia captured this win on the road at the American Airlines Arena which says a lot. Both teams are evenly matched but the return of Embiid makes the Sixers a different animal in the East. Throughout the game, the 76ers were able to spread Miami out or crush them in the post. Today’s NBA is a 3-point driven league but the 7-footer gives this team a strong post presence.

ADVERTISEMENT - Support our writers | Turn off ad blockers

The Masked Embiid Effect

The Sixers star big man was able to help his teammates maintain floor spacing, shoot the open three and run the floor. Not to mention the intensity on defense changed with the three blocked shots from the former Kansas center. Embiid’s return opened up the floor for Dario Saric who has had a consistent series thus far. Saric finished game 3 with 21 points, 7 rebounds, and 4 assists, per stats.nba.com. Philadelphia did a good job of spreading the ball in last nights contest. Game 2 the 76ers relied too much on the 3 which backfired in the end. Although the Sixers attempted 34 threes tonight they played both sides of the ball all night long. When the 76ers have their all-star center in the lineup they are able to cause matchup nightmares across the floor.

Don’t Forget Ben & The Supporting Cast

Ben Simmons finished the game with 19 points, 12 rebounds, and 7 assists, per stats.nba.com. The rookie of the year candidate is almost a walking triple double but game 3 he didn’t have to force anything. During game 2 there was a sense of urgency for the point-forward since he was playing without Embiid. Robert Covington, JJ Redick, Marco Belinelli, Ersan Ilyasova, TJ McConnell and Justin Anderson provided energy in game 3. Well despite the double technical between Dwyane Wade and Anderson. But hey it’s playoff basketball and I am all for it.

The return of Embiid means a lot for the 76ers as they continue to battle against the Heat. Now that Simmons is reunited with his right-hand man the Sixers will probably go on to win the series, especially with the lousy play of Whiteside who finished the game with 5 points, 2 rebounds and 2 turnovers. (COME ON MAN!! *CRIS CARTER VOICE)

ADVERTISEMENT - Support our writers | Turn off ad blockers

Game Four Is Huge For The Sixers

During the regular season, Whiteside and Embiid had a bit of a rivalry. However, it hasn’t transferred into this playoff series. In game 3 Whiteside seemed lost like a deer in headlights. No disrespect to the great Wade but Miami needs more offense if they plan to win or make this series interesting. Miami struggled to score midway through the fourth quarter which hurt them down the stretch. Even with the strategic coaching of head coach Erik Spolestra the Heat will probably struggle to score, find an answer for the Sixers offense, and play consistent defense with the return of Embiid.It’s still early but I am booking an early flight for the 76ers to the second round of the playoffs.

If the 76ers win game 4 on Saturday, it’s a rap.

Game 4 will take place Saturday at 2:30 pm at the American Airlines Arena.

Featured Photo C Royce via Flickr