Wade Delivers In Game 2 Win
After a game 1 blowout at the hands of the 76ers, nobody expected the Heat to rally. In comes Dwyane Wade, back from a brief stint with the Cavaliers that saw him return to Miami towards the end of the season. He put on a masterful performance, scoring 28 points off the bench, with 2 steals and 7 rebounds as well. If game 1 looked like a warning for the Heat, game 2 was even scarier for the 76ers. In the first half, the Heat outscored the Sixers by 14 points and won the game 113-103. Wade outscored the entire Sixers team 21-20 in the last 15 minutes of the first half. A high tempo Philadelphia offense looked gassed in game 2, and worse, couldn’t stop a 36-year-old Wade.
76ers Struggle From Deep In Game 2
Game 2 was a major setback from deep for the Sixers, who put up 18 shots the game before. They shot a disappointing .19 percent from 3-point land and a sub-par .72.9 percent from the 3-point line. Marco Belinelli and J.J. Redick put on a show in game 1 with 8 combined 3-pointers. Game 2 was a completely different story, they couldn’t buy a basket from deep, combining for only 3 shots on 15 attempts. Although Miami didn’t fare much better, their 11 less 3-point attempts made all the difference. Philadelphia can find some relief in Dario Saric, who continued to shine with 23 points and 9 rebounds.
Defensive Woes Without Embiid
The Sixers defense seemed to fall apart in the exact places it excelled during game 1. Guards Goran Dragic and Dwyane Wade were able to navigate the paint, scoring baskets and finding open shooters. It was only a matter of time that the Sixers would forfeit their interior defense without the presence of their star big man Joel Embiid. Surprisingly, the 76ers commanded the boards again in game 2, with 49 total rebounds. Expect this number to skyrocket once Embiid returns. However, Philadelphia will be forced to rely on the inside presence of Saric and Ilyasova in his absence. Embiid is averaging 1.76 blocks per game this season and will be a tremendous defensive force for the Sixers if he can get healthy.
Embiid took to Instagram after the game to relay his frustration with the coaching staff keeping him out:
D-Wade took to Twitter, mocking comedian and Sixers fan Kevin Hart:
You can’t come to Miami…???♂️ https://t.co/HAHNZ4z1px
— DWade (@DwyaneWade) April 17, 2018
Without Embiid in the lineup, the Sixers will continue to face an uphill battle, especially in the hostile environment that is Miami. Wade thrives off his home crowd, as do the rest of the Heat, who are a much better home team than away. The 76ers are still extremely young, with little playoff experience throughout the team. Miami has a cast of veterans who have seen the playoffs year in and year out. As recently as 2014, Wade was playing in the NBA finals, giving him a veteran advantage that nobody on the Sixers can provide for the team. Embiid is the cornerstone of the team, he spreads the floor with his impressive shooting and post game. His defense at the rim is better than anyone in the Eastern Conference. If game 2 told the Sixers anything, they need Embiid back before the Heat take control of the series.
Featured Image: Keith Allison via Flickr