Score of 76ers vs. Heat takeaways: Jimmy Butler leads Miami to dominant Game 5 victory over Philadelphia

The Miami Heat are one win away from a spot in the Eastern Conference finals after dominating the Philadelphia 76ers Tuesday night in South Beach to take a 3-2 series lead. The Heat benefited from balanced scoring throughout the night as six players finished the 120-85 win in double figures, led by Jimmy Butler’s 23 points, nine rebounds and six assists.

Philly fell behind by double digits in the first quarter and never made a change after that. Ultimately, Miami took over in the fourth quarter and really opened things up, leading the Sixers to empty their bench with just over eight minutes remaining in regulation. Obviously, that’s not the kind of result Doc Rivers and his roster were hoping for come night.

Miami will try to clinch the series with a victory in Game 6 at the Wells Fargo Center on Thursday night.

Here are three key takeaways from the game:

1. Heat find their offense again

After building to a 2-0 series lead at home, the Heat lost their way in Philadelphia. They couldn’t make a shot, particularly from 3-point range where they were 14-for-65 in Games 3 and 4, and had two of their three least efficient offensive games in all of the playoffs. As a result, they returned home with the series tied 2-2 and suddenly found themselves in a best of three.

Those games were amazing right now, and they seem even stranger now after Game 5. Whatever was plaguing the Heat on the road wasn’t an issue Tuesday night when they returned home and delivered a dominating performance in both games. sides of the ball. However, finding their offense again was the most encouraging aspect.

It took them less than seven minutes to build a double-digit lead, and they would hold that lead for most of the game. Every time you looked up, they were pouring another bucket. The Heat shot 53.6 percent from the field and 39.4 percent from 3-point range. Seven different players hit a 3-pointer and seven different players scored in double figures, as they worked the Sixers inside and out.

Jimmy Butler picked up where he left off in Game 4 and finished with 23 points, nine rebounds and six assists, while Max Strus added 19 points and 10 rebounds. It’s true that the Sixers were lifeless at times, but this was a stellar performance by the Heat.

2. Embiid has a painful night

Just minutes into the game, Joel Embiid chased down a fumble and it went flying into the crowd along the baseline. He did manage to save the ball, but it probably wasn’t worth it as he took a hit to the back in the process. Although he stayed in the game, he was clutching his back and doubled over as he headed for the bench.

As it turned out, that was just the beginning of a painful night for the great man. Later in the first half, he was going for a rebound and had secured the ball over his head. Heat center Dewayne Dedmon hit the ball and made contact with it, forcing the ball back into Embiid’s face. The accidental crash aggravated Embiid’s broken orbital bone, and he collapsed to the floor in agony.

Once again, he showed tremendous toughness to stay in the game, but this was not his night. He finished with 17 points and five rebounds on 7-for-12 shooting, which are decent numbers but not what you’d expect from an MVP candidate, even one injured. With Embiid playing well below his usual level, the Sixers didn’t stand a chance. Unless he can somehow generate a big response in Game 6, the Sixers are likely finished.

3. Warm up a game away from another ECF

Somehow, this season hasn’t gone according to plan for the Heat. They’ve been banged up all season (Bam Adebayo, Jimmy Butler and Kyle Lowry missed a combined 72 games) and are still dealing with injuries to key players. Meanwhile, they re-signed Duncan Robinson to a five-year, $90 million deal in the offseason and he hardly plays anymore.

And yet here they are in mid-May, just one game away from a trip to the Eastern Conference finals. They built this team with the expectation of competing for a title and, barring some kind of collapse in the next few days, they will be one of the final four teams. You can point to a pretty easy path in the playoffs, and that’s true, but a conference finals appearance is a conference finals appearance; no matter how you get there.

Assuming the Heat take over the Sixers, they’ll be in the ECF for the second time in the last three seasons and the sixth time in the last 11 years. Pretty impressive run.

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