Sixers-Heat Game 5 takeaways: Miami deserves credit
After the Sixers evened the series at home, a lot of people started to question if Miami was really contender material. Is the halfcourt offense good enough? Are the 3s going to start falling? Can Jimmy Butler really do this every night? Game 5 was a strong reminder of why Miami is the No. 1 seed, and why the Heat are considerable favorites to win the series.
Embiid’s injury is a factor. It’s unavoidable in the broader context of this series. But so is Miami’s defense. The Heat made life hell on Embiid all game, fronting him in the post and making entry passes (already alarmingly difficult for most members of the team) damn near impossible. Embiid’s only real offensive run in the third quarter came when he was creating from scratch at the top of the key and hitting difficult shots. There was no easy post-ups at the rim, no simple finish out of the pick-and-roll. Bam Adebayo and the Heat’s defense were flat-out dominant.
Jimmy Butler has also been playing MVP basketball this postseason. Has any individual been better than him these playoffs? Butler has been hitting absurd, well-contested shots all series. He kept Miami’s halfcourt offense afloat on the road when shots weren’t falling, then dropped a comfortable 23-9-6 in 34 minutes while Miami ran away with the game at home. He sure would’ve made a good Sixer. You need superstars to win in the playoffs and Butler is reasserting his superstar status every night.
The Heat are the deeper, more well-connected team. Jimmy Butler has been the best player on the floor all series, and Bam Adebayo is showcasing why he was so prominently featured in the Defensive Player of the Year race. Miami has starpower, and maybe the best defense left in the postseason next to Boston and Milwaukee. It’s on the Sixers to play better, but the Heat made life very difficult in Game 5.