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Joel Embiid returns as 76ers rout Heat in Game 3

May 6, 2022; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Philadelphia 76ers guard James Harden (1) knocks the ball from Miami Heat guard Max Strus (31) in front of center Joel Embiid (21) during the first quarter in game three of the second round for the 2022 NBA playoffs at Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Joel Embiid had 18 points and a game-high 11 rebounds in a triumphant return from injury as the host Philadelphia 76ers defeated the Miami Heat 99-79 in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference semifinals on Friday night.

Embiid returned after missing two straight games due to a concussion and a facial fracture. The Sixers are 6-10 without Embiid across the regular season and playoffs and 50-25 with him.

Tyrese Maxey had all 21 of his points in the second half for the Sixers, and Danny Green, who entered the game in a shooting slump, made 7 of 9 3-pointers to finish with 21 points. He had gone just 2 for 14 from distance in the first two games of the series.

Miami still leads the best-of-seven series, 2-1. Game 4 is set for Sunday night in Philadelphia.

Jimmy Butler led the Heat with a game-high 33 points and nine rebounds.

The Sixers also got 17 points from James Harden, including 15 in the first half. Tobias Harris had a near triple-double with nine points, 10 rebounds and eight assists.

Heat point guard Kyle Lowry, who returned after missing four straight games due to a hamstring injury, had no points and three assists in 25 minutes. Besides Butler, Miami’s only other double-figure scorer was Tyler Herro (14 points).

In the first period, both teams shot below 36 percent from the floor, and Philadelphia led 21-17.

Philadelphia started the second quarter with a 9-0 run and took a 41-34 lead into halftime. Both teams shot less than 35 percent from the floor in the first half, but the Sixers made 5 of 14 on 3-pointers (35.7 percent). Miami made just 2 of 16 from distance (12.5 percent).

The Sixers started the third quarter on a 7-0 run, but Miami went on to pull together a 13-0 stretch and ultimately tie the score at 57. Maxey then hit a 3-pointer, got a steal and converted a layup before the Sixers ended the third on top, 68-65.

The Sixers never lost their lead in the fourth quarter, prevailing despite turning the ball over 19 times in the game — seven more than Miami.

For the game, Philadelphia shot 47.8 percent from the floor, including 16 of 33 3-pointers (48.5 percent). Miami shot just 35.1 percent, including 7 of 30 3-pointers (23.3 percent).

The Sixers were plus-nine on rebounds and plus-13 on fast-break points.

–Field Level Media