The Miami Heat convincingly took down the No. 1 seeded Philadelphia 76ers in a 106-94 point victory on Thursday night. The Heat and 76ers had all of their main stars playing, so both were able to compete at almost full health.
Miami got off to a quick start in the first quarter, jumping out to a 16-point lead. There would be no looking back because Philadelphia didn’t have enough effort to bring itself back into the game after an aggressive first quarter.
Here are three takeaways from the Heat’s dominating win over the 76ers on Thursday night.
Tyler Herro is finding his groove at the right time
Before missing six games with a foot injury, Herro struggled to find his shot and couldn’t consistently put up quality numbers. Now, those memories are in the past as Herro was red-hot on offense.
Herro totaled 18 points, six rebounds, and two assists in 29 minutes off the bench. The 21-year-old guard also shot 6-of-13 from the field and 4-of-7 from the beyond the arc.
There were questions over what Miami could do with its guards if Victor Oladipo came back this season. That’s all for naught, with Oladipo missing the rest of the season after undergoing surgery on his right quadriceps tendon.
Herro has averaged 20.3 points, 5.8 rebounds and shot 62% from the floor in the last four games. Just as impressive as his stats, three of those games came against playoff-caliber teams.
There couldn’t be a better time for Herro to start finding his rhythm. The Heat want the best seeding possible and hopefully, Herro can continue this when the lights get brighter in the playoffs.
Miami’s defense remains all over the place
Miami’s defense put on a clinic versus the 76ers on Thursday night. Collectively, Miami held Joel Embiid to six points, two rebounds, and four turnovers in 25 minutes, his worst performance of the season.
Perfectly timed double teams and rotating on defense played a huge role in the Heat’s success. Philadelphia only scored 41 points in the first half and 94 points total. All with Embiid playing in the game.
Miami held Philadelphia to 7-of-25 (28%) from beyond the arc and caused 13 turnovers. The turnover numbers aren’t terrible, but the three-point percentage is a notable for Miami’s defense.
Thursday night was a very welcoming sign after the Heat allowed over 40 points in the fourth quarter during the last two games. It didn’t end up mattering because Miami emptied their bench with around two minutes to go in the game.
The Heat’s defense showed what it’s capable of against one of the top teams in the NBA and there’s a sense that they wouldn’t be afraid of the 76ers in a second-round matchup.
Udonis Haslem’s best stint of basketball this season
Udonis Haslem only played three minutes, but it was the best three minutes of Heat basketball this season. Haslem scored four points, drew a charge, and got ejected in his first appearance of the 2021 season.
The 18-year veteran acted as a mediator between Embiid and Trevor Ariza after his teammate took exception to the way Embiid roled on his ankle in the first quarter. A few moments later, Haslem found himself in Dwight Howard’s face.
In classic “UD” style, Haslem was ejected after making contact with Howard and walked off the floor to a standing ovation from the Heat’s coaching staff for what could have been the final time.
If that was the last time Miami Heat fans see Haslem on the floor in a Heat jersey, it could not have gone any better. Haslem scored, rebounded, drew a charge, and got in the face of someone who played dirty against them in the NBA Finals.
Haslem has been a pillar of Miami’s locker room for a long time and serves as a role model to every player there. Erik Spoelstra was also high on his impact in the locker room after Thursday night’s game.
As long as Haslem still wants to play and be a part of the team, he will be offered a spot and the loyalty he has given Miami will be returned with open arms. That’s the only to treat a Heat legend and both sides wouldn’t want it any other way.