Everyone who watches the NBA knows how vital is Game 5 in a playoff series, and even though the Sixers knew that as well, they looked entirely dismantled by the Miami Heat in tonight's loss. The Heat imposed their will over the Sixers from the first minute of the game and remained concentrated and in control throughout all four quarters.
The Heat dismantled the Sixers on both ends of the floor
After the game, Doc Rivers said the Heat did a great job limiting space for his players.
"I thought they also denied where we can't be denied. I think they denied our space the entire night."
He concluded they failed on both ends of the floor, not moving the ball enough and overall being extremely sloppy as a team.
"We didn't get into the paint that much at all tonight, and when we got into the paint, we didn't pass it out of the paint. The ball stuck tonight, our passing was awful, and we were sloppy tonight."
Despite struggling with a right orbital fracture and concussion, Joel Embiid was the best player for the Sixers tonight. The Heat were able to slow down Embiid big time, limiting him to only 17 points on 12 shots. Embiid simply wasn't aggressive enough, which was one reason the Sixers didn't stand a chance against the Heat tonight.
Embiid was disappointed with the overall performance in Game 5
In a press conference after the game, Embiid was visibly disappointed with the game, saying the physicality wasn't on the necessary level to beat the Heat.
"We didn't play defense, we weren't physical enough, we weren't locked in from the beginning, and they took advantage of it."
Embiid added that consistency was also a fundamental problem in Game 5, and when you don't move the ball, you can't expect good things to happen on offense.
"I don't think we have been consistent. We weren't focused enough, we didn't play hard enough, and we didn't follow the game plan. It was just too easy for them offensively. We didn't move the ball like we have been, and like I said, we have to be locked in and play like we played those last two games before this one."
Embiid is still optimistic about winning this series
Embiid looked tired, and his body language wasn't good from the very first quarter. It seemed like he woke up a bit in the third quarter when he scored most of his points trying to bring the Sixers back into the game, but their defense couldn't stop the Heat from scoring, which was a sign for Doc Rivers to surrender the contest.
"I thought coming in, I had the right mindset. I had the right mindset about what I wanted to accomplish for me and my team to get the win. There is a lot of things going on; sometimes, it's your body not allowing you to be yourself. In those moments, you just have to keep pushing and hope for the best. At this point, it's all about just being there and keep pushing."
Despite this tough loss, Embiid is optimistic about his team's chances of still winning this series. For Embiid, it all starts on defense, where he thinks they need to be locked in while sharing the ball on offense that would hopefully lead them to some easy baskets, which unfortunately wasn't the case tonight.
"Share the ball, obviously; defensively, we have to be locked in. I have to dig deeper than I have and try to forget what is going on and play freely. I wasn't aggressive tonight, I tried in the third quarter, but we couldn't get stops. I just have to have that mentality for four quarters, and I like our chances to come back here."
The Philadelphia 76ers will have the opportunity to tie the series back in Philadelphia in front of their home crowd on Thursday. Everyone on the squad will need to step up big time, especially Embiid and Harden, who were incredibly passive tonight. Embiid admitted that needs to change, and it remains to be seen whether they will apply the necessary changes that will help them keep their playoff dreams alive.