The Sixers lost another game at home 101-96 against a resilient and structured Miami Heat squad that lacked three essential players in the rotation while exposing the Sixers that they will need to improve much more if they want to be considered a playoff-contending squad.
Miami Heat completely controlled the game
After getting blown out against the Memphis Grizzlies on Monday, the Sixers were hoping to get a much-needed win at home against the Miami Heat, who were missing a few of their key players. Joel Embiid was back in the lineup, and this game was an opportunity for the Sixers to get back on the winning side of things. Unfortunately for them, the Heat took control of the game from the early start and never let go, leading by over 20 points at one point. The Sixers were resilient and behind Tyrese Maxey got back into the game at the end of the fourth quarter, but the Heat had a bit more luck at the end and secured the win.
After the game, Sixers head coach Doc Rivers reflected on the things Sixers didn't do well in the first two-quarters of the game when it seemed they weren't utilizing their opportunities. Embiid wasn't getting his touches in the post, which was especially frustrating when the Heat decided to play small ball, and that is when Embiid needs to be active the most in getting quality shots close to the basket.
"We've been very good against zone, and we prepared for it, and then tonight, the ball just stayed on the outside," Sixers head coach Doc Rivers said. "You've got to get into the paint. … It was just disappointing. That was it. We got every shot we wanted in the second half running the same stuff.The difference is we didn't settle, we didn't hold the ball and we went downhill. And in the first half, I don't know what that was. And you also have to post Joel more. I thought early on we were doing that and then we got away from it. Joel was more on the elbows than the post; we've got to get back in."
Matisse Thybulle played great for the past few games, but against the Heat, he was a non-factor, so Doc Rivers decided to limit his minutes on the court.
"On a night like tonight when Matisse is not giving us a great defensive night and they're helping off of him, you've got to get him out," Rivers said. "And that's what we did."
Tyrese Maxey sparked a comeback but it wasn't enough
Maxey was definitely the most impactful player for the Sixers against the Heat, finishing the game with 27 points, sparking a run that put his team in the position to win the game. He was obviously disappointed with the loss but said he was proud that his team found the energy to fight back and at least get in the position to win the game at the end.
"We came out flat at the beginning of the game and again at the beginning of the second half," Maxey said. "But (we were) resilient. Everyone who stepped on the court had an extreme amount of fight and determination to get back in the game. It's tough. When you exert all your energy like that to come back on a good team, it's hard to win."
The Sixers are currently sitting on the 7th spot in the eastern conference playing the next game against the Brooklyn Nets, which will be a good test for them as a team. The Nets are shorthanded, which also benefits the Sixers, but they will need to start the game with more energy and structure than they did against the Heat to get a much-needed win after two losses.