The Philadelphia 76ers were riding a wave of positive momentum into Game 5, however, they were quickly knocked off the wave by a poised Miami Heat squad. Game 5 quickly became a nightmare for pretty much every Sixers player not named Danny Green and Paul Reed.
Joel Embiid was hit hard in the face with the ball after Dewayne Deadmon was swiping at it for a rebound and didn’t look the same afterwards. Tyrese Maxey had his worst game of this postseason only recording 9 points on 2-10 shooting. James Harden had the same number of assists as he did turnovers with four of each.
That’s not to mention the poor showing by Tobias Harris and the rest of the 76ers’ role players. Philly only scored 85 points on 36.5 percent shooting from the field and 28.1 percent shooting from deep. With everything that went wrong, the question becomes, how can the Sixers recompose themselves for Game 6?
How can the Sixers bounce back against the Heat in Game 6?
The easy aspect to point out is effort and energy. Game 5 made it clear that the Sixers didn’t come out like they wanted to win. Clearly, they did, but they didn’t play as they did for one reason to another. If head coach Doc Rivers can get his “Core 4” to play as they can, that will put the Sixers in a good place to start off with.
Defensively, it’s clear that nobody on the 76ers can defend Jimmy Butler 1-on-1. He’s had his way with Philly far too often in this series averaging 26.6 points per game in this series. That has to change moving forward. Rivers has to implement double-teams on Butler as soon as he touches the ball.
Outside of Butler, there are only two players on Miami who can create off the dribble. Both Victor Oladipo and Tyler Herro come off the bench and after the first two games, Philly has done a solid job neutralizing Herro. Slowing down Butler and Herro is key to victory on the defensive side of the ball.
On offense, I’m going to agree with Tim Legler of ESPN’s take on how the offense needs to change more in Maxey’s favor. The Sixers should turn the offense over the Maxey and let him be the predominant ball handler. It makes sense considering that Harden can’t consistently get his shot off and Maxey is the only perimeter player on the 76ers that can beat the Heat’s defenders off the dribble.
There’s a formula to win Game 6 for the Philadelphia 76ers, the question is can they execute it or will their offseason begin?