Miami Heat forward Kevin Love (42) looks for an open teammate past Philadelphia 76ers guard James Harden (1) during the second half of an NBA basketball game, Wednesday, March 1, 2023, in Miami. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

76ers Ride Big Second Quarter to Win Over Heat

The Miami Heat were blown out by the Philadelphia 76ers Wednesday night in Miami, 119-96. Philadelphia got the win without star big man Joel Embiid, who was a late scratch from the
lineup due to a nagging left foot injury.

Sixers’ point guard Tyrese Maxey led all scorers with 27 points while perennial all-star James Harden added 23 in the victory. Paul Reed had a great night as well. He scored 16 points, secured 14 rebounds and was plus-26, which led all players. For the Heat, Bam Adebayo scored 20, and Jimmy Butler finished with 16 before leaving the game in the fourth quarter due to right knee soreness.

This was the second game in a row between these two. Miami won the first matchup on Monday in Philadelphia, 101-99. This ended the four-game losing streak the Heat had previously been on.

With Wednesday’s victory, the Sixers got their 40th win of the season and improved their record to 40-21. The Heat lost their 30th game of the year and fell to 33-30.

Heat Lead After One

Both teams started this game firing on all cylinders offensively. Adebayo scored the first points of the game on a layup coming off a Tyler Herro assist. Harden put the Sixers on the board a few possessions later with a layup of his own.

The whole first quarter went back and forth. The biggest lead of the quarter came when Herro scored off an assist from Butler that gave the Heat a 14-7 advantage.

After a made basket from Reed, Victor Oladipo came down the court for Miami with eight seconds to go in the quarter and drained a straightaway three-pointer off a Cody Zeller screen. This gave the Heat a 38-34 lead going into the second.

Both sides shot the ball extremely well in the first. Philadelphia went 14-22 from the floor, a 64% field goal percentage. As for Miami, they one-upped the 76ers, making 14 of their 21 shots, going 67% from the field, including 3-7 from beyond the arc.

Philadelphia’s Huge Second Quarter

The second quarter was a different story for the Heat, but much of the same for the Sixers.

Shake Milton set the tone early for Philadelphia as he knocked down a triple to cut the lead to one. On their next possession, Harden made two free throws to give the 76ers their first lead of the game.

A little over two minutes into the quarter, Harden got into a groove from three-point land. He hit two in a row that started a 12-0 run for Philadelphia, eight of these points coming from the 10-time all-star.

With over seven minutes to play in the half, Adebayo made both of his free throws to draw within six of Philadelphia. After this, the 76ers went on a 20-8 run to close out the second quarter. In this run, Philadelphia made four three-pointers, two of which coming from De’Anthony Melton.

In the second quarter, the 76ers outscored the Heat 37-15, putting on a great display on both ends. This big quarter gave them a 71-53 lead at halftime.

76ers Cruise to Victory

The third quarter was much more competitive than the second. The teams answered each other on almost every occasion.

After a close-range bucket from Max Strus with under a minute to play in the third, Maxey came the other way and drained a step back three-pointer. He scored the final eight points of the quarter for the Sixers. They led 96-77 at the end of three.

To start the fourth quarter, Philadelphia went on a 6-0 run to secure their largest lead of the game at 25. After this run, Miami’s head coach, Erik Spoelstra, called a timeout to stop the bleeding. This is also when Butler walked down the tunnel to the locker room and did not return.

It did not get much better for the Heat the rest of the way. They were held under 20 points in the fourth were outscored 23-19.

After scoring 38 points in the first quarter, the Heat were held in check by the Philadelphia defense. The Sixers won by a final score of 119-69.

What’s Next for Heat?

After Wednesday’s loss to Philadelphia, the Heat will continue their six-game homestand on Friday. They will go up against the red-hot New York Knicks at Miami-Dade Arena. The Knicks have won seven straight games, including a 142-118 victory over the Brooklyn Nets on Wednesday.

This will be the second of four matchups between these two teams this season. In the first game, Miami lost 106-104 on Feb. 2. Tip-off is set for 8 p.m. EST.

About Hugh Green

Hugh is a third year student majoring in Journalism: Sports and Media at the University of Florida.

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