Both were very easy.
Joel Embiid it could complicate those games in the future – and the Miami Heat are heading north expecting him to be able to wait for them.
Adebayo scored 23 points, Butler 22 points and 12 assists, and Heat beat the Philadelphia 76ers 119-103 on Wednesday night for a 2-0 lead in the Eastern Conference semifinals.
“It’s always nice to win,” Butler said. “We just did what we were supposed to do at home.”
“We just have to go back to the drawing board and try to figure it out,” Maxey said.
A 10-0 run in the fourth turned Miami’s eight-point lead to an 18-point lead, sealing the win and ensuring the Heat retained the home ground before the series moved north. The third game is Friday in Philadelphia.
And now, the Heat will hope that history will endure – and the 76ers will hope not.
Miami took a 2-0 lead in 18 previous series, including the first round of the season against Atlanta, and won the game each time. The 76ers franchise gave up the first two games on 19 other occasions, never recovering from winning the series.
The question that goes on Friday will revolve around whether Embiid can be ready for Game 3. League champion and MVP finalist is recovering from an orbital fracture and concussion and, not surprisingly, the 76ers missed him heavily.
“We don’t have a big man right now,” Philadelphia coach Doc Rivers lamented.
Adebayo certainly doesn’t complain. He was 8 for 10 from the field and 8 for 8 from the line in Game 1; he followed it with a 7-for-11 night off the floor on Wednesday.
But he said he was preparing as if Embiid would play on Friday. And Butler, who is close to Embiid from the time they were teammates in Philadelphia, hopes his selection for MVP will be able to play in the series.
“I want to compete against him,” Butler said. “I really want to.”
Rivers, however, did not sound optimistic about the possibility of Embiid being ready.
“There are so many steps to go through,” Rivers said. “I don’t think he’s solved any of them right now.”
However, Philadelphia was not only hurt by Embiid’s absence. The 76ers were again awful from a 3-point range, shooting 8 for 30 in Game 2. They are now 14 for 64 from the depths of the series.
“When it comes down to it, you have to shoot, especially when you’re on the road against a really good team,” Harden said. “It’s pretty simple.”
Danny Green he was 1 to 10 from the field – the second time in his playoff career that he had so many attempts and shot so badly in the game after the season. Other? 1-for-12 for San Antonio 2013, also in Miami, the night the Heat won their third and final NBA title.
The heat is not close yet. But those are two wins from the East finals.
“It’s not easy to win the playoffs.” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. “We had some great stocks, especially in defense. We had some really good stocks in attack … Our defense really led us to victory, but we had some really timely offensive games.”
76ers: Harden was fouled in an attempt with 3 points with 0.1 seconds to go until the end of the half, he took all three free throws and brought Philadelphia within 60-52 at the break. … Maxey got a cut on his right knee in the fourth quarter, the game paused while the 76ers took care of him. He stayed in the game. … Georges Niang had another unusual stat line. He was 0 for 7 – all three – in Game 1, and then he made a mistake in 10 minutes of Game 2. It was the fourth smallest minute played by anyone who fouled in the entire season.
Heat: PJ Tucker turns 37 on Thursday. … It was the 497th consecutive sell-off announced by the Heat, equating Sacramento to the fifth longest run in NBA league history. The record is held by Dallas, which has 864 consecutive sales and more. … Miami had a 44-34 advantage.
With the victory, Spoelströn broke the post-season record to 91-59 (.607). Among coaches with at least 100 playoff games, he moved up to fourth place in the NBA’s win-win rankings, behind only Steve Kerr (.732), Phil Jackson (.688) and Billy Cunningham (.629). The Spoelstra coach passed in the win percentage on Wednesday night? That would be his boss, Heat President Pat Riley, who won 171-111 (.606).
The relationship in Kentucky was deep on Wednesday night. Wildcats coach John Calipari was in Game 2 to see Herro officially receive the Sixth Man Award. Other former Kentucky players at Heat and 76ers: Adebayo, Maxey and Heat are two-way players Mychal Mulder. And Riley played in Kentucky.
The third game is Friday in Philadelphia.