Miami Heat forward Jimmy Butler (22) reacts after the basket made by Bam Adebayo (Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports)
The Miami Heat have the advantage once again. Coming out to dominate Game 5 of their second matchup with the Philadelphia 76ers, they now head back to Philadelphia for a Game 6 scenario that allows them the opportunity to finish it there.
The question still remains though, can they get it done? Well, they can if they play anything like they did on Tuesday night.
Coming out engaged from the very onset of the game, they looked nothing like the team they had been in the previous two contests where they couldn’t buy makes from the outside. Going 13-33 in Game 5, they would come up only one shy total makes of their total amount of threes made in Games 3 and 4 combined.
They would go 7-30 in Game 3 and 7-35 in Game 4, an easy 14 to tabulate. When you look at the overall scoring totals and trends, those would show to be, almost, completely opposite from the previous two games as well.
The Miami Heat would win the first, third, and last periods of Game 5, though they would tie in the second, leaving them having won three of four quarters. In Games 3 and 4 of the series, Philly would win three of the four periods.
It could point to one of several things though, any combination of several of them, or in fact, all of them.
The Philadelphia 76ers had made tough shots in front of their home crowd, while the Miami Heat just couldn’t make enough or anywhere near their average, 13.6, about what they made in Game 5. On top of that, you also had the fact that James Harden has played better as Joel Embiid’s presence has increased, be that literally with his return in Game 3 or as he has played better.
Lastly and even though a win is a win is a win, neither of the Sixers’ wins in this series was to the magnitude of the Heat’s Game 5 win. They scored more points than they did in either of their wins and the margin was much bigger.
So, when the Miami Heat can manage to just be themselves, hit some shots, and slow down Embiid enough to not allow Harden any extra offensive juice, they can win going away. The Sixers need everything to go right and the Miami Heat to, flat out, suck while doing it.
Game 6 still has to be played and won—in Philadelphia nonetheless, but if the Miami Heat are just average or better, they should win that one before the thing ever gets to a seventh game.