Sixers down Heat in Embiid's return, take 2-1 series lead

Ruben Hill
April 23, 2018

Game 3 was marked by a handful of incidents that had the Heat and Sixers almost coming to blows, including a scuffle between Dwyane Wade and Philadelphia's Justin Anderson that resulted in both players receiving technical fouls. Lauded for his pressing job on Simmons in Game Two, Winslow's best defensive effort in Game Three was a futile attempt to perhaps dismantle Embiid's mask by stomping on it and squeezing it with his angry hands.

Goran Dragic scored 23 points for Miami, which got 19 from Winslow and 14 from Josh Richardson.

Embiid had missed the past three weeks due to injuries suffered when he collided with teammate Markelle Fultz during a game.

As of now, though, it doesn't look like Embiid will get it.

"I feel like I'm the best defensive player in the league", he said. "I had to work through it and I did".

"I am just so proud of what he did", head coach Brett Brown praised.

Marco Belinelli assisted with 20 points off the bench. "That is classic Dwyane Wade". Winslow posted an impressive double-double with 19 points, 10 rebounds, and two blocks in Game 3. He made his only shots from the field, but his four fouls helped to keep him off the court.

One minor issue in the first half: whoever was guarding Miami's Justise Winslow in the first half should have run him off the three-point line. But, like the stylistic changes, it's another thing to consider when he does make his return. Wayne Ellington, Miami's single-season leader in 3-pointers after making a record 227 this season, was 1 for 5 from the floor.

Even though the Heat shot 48.5 percent from 3-point range themselves, they really don't have a Plan B when the long ball isn't falling. Wade won't be able to bail them out every night, Whiteside was borderline unplayable and Philly's mastery of drive-and-kick as authored by Simmons appears a legitimate postseason recipe.

Philadelphia has been one of the NBA's hottest teams, winning 17 games in a row before losing in Game 2, and has won nine of those games - including beating the Cleveland Cavaliers at home earlier this month - with Embiid sitting out. Although the 76ers finished with 127 points on the scoreboard, they only had seven fast-break points for the game.

And if last night is what he's capable of at less than 100 percent, in enemy territory, with an awkward piece of poly-carbonate disguise shielding his face, that doesn't bode well for the Heat. This is expected to continue, especially since Embiid is back in this series.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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