Sixers need to respond to avoid 0-3 hole

Published May 6, 2022, 10:00 AMRenee Ticzon

The Sixers need to make a lot of adjustments on both offense and defense in Game 3 to make this a series.

It wasn’t a good night for Philadelphia after the 76ers fell in a 2-0 hole against the Miami Heat on Thursday.

While James Harden’s statistics may seem like he had a fairly good game, it’s all about perspective. Harden shot 16 of his 20 points in the first half of the match. By the third and final quarter, he was just 1-of-5 from the field. He still ended with 20 points, four rebounds, and nine assists, but he could not deliver in crunch time. 

To Harden’s credit, he and the other 76ers were hounded by the Heat’s defense all game long so they really couldn’t get into a rhythm. Miami has the second-best defensive rating at 103.8 and proved their ability to shut down a superstar in their previous series against the Atlanta Hawks. Only Furkan Korkmaz and Tobias Harris made more than a single 3-pointer, but it’s not comforting to know that they made just two each. 

This is a big deal for a team that’s lacking presence inside the paint at the moment. They need to accept that they’ll give up several rebounds and second-chance opportunities without their injured star, Joel Embiid. And if that’s the case, they need to make their outside shots if they want to keep their hopes of advancing alive.

More than anything, Philadelphia failed to make in-game adjustments to counter the Heat’s defensive schemes.

The entire team had a bad shooting night, only making 26.7 percent from beyond the arc. They also played subpar defense on Jimmy Butler and the rest of the Heat. Philly allowed Miami to shoot 14-of-29 from long distance in the blowout loss. 

Meanwhile, the Heat continue their hot streak with a full collective effort. They had four players in double digits and dished out 25 team assists. Butler displayed an all-around effort with his double-double of 22 points and 12 rebounds. Bam Adebayo had 23 points and nine rebounds, while Tyler Herro and Victor Oladipo led the bench’s scoring with a combined 37 points.

Game 3 will be crucial for the Sixers. If they want to make this a series, they’ll need to counter the Heat’s offense by hitting their shots.