Heat demolish Sixers to take 3-2 series edge

Jimmy Butler and the Heat move within a win of advancing to the Eastern Conference finals

Seven players scored in double figures for the Heat as Miami blasted the visiting Philadelphia 76ers, 120-85, to grab a 3-2 lead in a best-of-seven Eastern Conference semifinal series on Tuesday night, May 10 (Wednesday, May 11, Manila time).

Jimmy Butler scored a game-high 23 points for the Heat, but unlike losses in Games 3 and 4 when he was their only consistent source of offense, he had plenty of help.

Miami’s Max Strus produced his first double-double of the postseason with 19 points and 10 rebounds. Gabe Vincent added 15 points, while Victor Oladipo came off the bench for 13. Bam Adebayo (12), Tyler Herro (10) and PJ Tucker (10) also hit for double figures.

Butler added 9 rebounds and 6 assists while hitting 9-of-15 field goal attempts. Strus was 7-of-13 from the floor, including 4-of-10 from three-point range.

Joel Embiid scored 17 points to pace Philadelphia, while James Harden added 14 and Tobias Harris netted 12 points. However, the 76ers made just 36.5% of their field goal attempts and were outrebounded 46-36.

The Heat hit 53.6% from the field, including 13-of-33 (39.4%) from beyond the arc. The 76ers wound up 9-of-32 (28.1%) from long distance, with Georges Niang missing all six of his three-point attempts and finishing scoreless in 16 minutes.

Game 6 is Thursday night in Philadelphia, where the 76ers try to stave off elimination. The road team hasn’t won yet in the series.

Miami set an immediate tone, rattling off 12 straight points for a 21-10 lead at the 5:16 mark of the first quarter. Strus drained consecutive three-pointers to cap the run.

The Heat stretched the margin to 18 in the second quarter before settling for a 56-44 halftime lead. Butler had 14 first-half points to lead all scorers.

Miami pushed the advantage to 20 less than four minutes into the third quarter on Vincent’s three-point play.…

76ers blow out Raptors in Game 6, 132-97

The Philadelphia 76ers bounced back from a pair of losses to the Toronto Raptors to win by 35 on the road in Game 6 and advance to the Eastern Conference semifinals.

Philadelphia won the first three games of the series, but star center Joel Embiid suffered a thumb injury in Game 3 and the team struggled offensively in Games 4 and 5. That wasn’t the case Thursday night when the 76ers scored 70 in the second half alone of a 132-97 win.

Embiid led the team in scoring with 33 points, making 12 of his 18 field goals on the night. Every starter for the 76ers scored at least 12 points on the night. James Harden finished with 22 points and 15 assists, and the 76ers got 25 points and eight assists out of Tyrese Maxey.

Toronto trailed by only one point at halftime, but managed to score just 36 points in the second half, something the 76ers managed to accomplish before the end of the third quarter. Chris Boucher came off the bench to lead the Raptors in scoring with 25 points.

The 76ers advance to face the top-seeded Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference semifinals, which will begin Monday.…

Joel Embiid’s 3-pointer in final second leads 76ers past Raptors in OT

Joel Embiid made a 3-pointer with 0.8 seconds left in overtime to give the Philadelphia 76ers a 104-101 victory over the Toronto Raptors on Wednesday night and a 3-0 lead in their first-round series.

After 76ers coach Doc Rivers called timeout to save the possession as the shot clock was running down, Embiid took an inbounds pass from Danny Green and hit a turnaround shot from near the sideline before running back to his bench in celebration.

Toronto’s OG Anunoby couldn’t get a shot off before the buzzer.

Embiid had 33 points and 13 rebounds, helping the 76ers rally from a 17-point deficit. James Harden had 19 points and 10 assists before fouling out in the closing seconds of regulation.

Tyrese Maxey scored 19 points and Tobias Harris had 11 points and 12 rebounds for the Sixers, who can wrap up the series in Game 4 on Saturday.

Anunoby scored 26 points, Gary Trent Jr. had a playoff-high 24, and Precious Achiuwa had 20 for the Raptors.

Pascal Siakam and Fred VanVleet each had 12 points. VanVleet shot 3 for 13, going 2 for 10 from 3-point range.

Philadelphia never held a lead in regulation, finally grabbing a 99-97 edge on Maxey’s shot with 3:27 left in overtime.

Anunoby’s 3 briefly put Toronto back on top, but Embiid’s basket with 2:36 left made it 101-100 for the Sixers.

Embiid fouled Anunoby with 26 seconds left, and the Toronto forward made the first but missed the second, knotting it at 101-all.

Raptors rookie Scottie Barnes sat for the second straight game because of the sprained left ankle that knocked him out of Game 1. Raptors coach Nick Nurse said Barnes is making progress and could return Saturday.

The 76ers, who shot at least 30 free throws in each of the first two games of the series, went 15 for 20 from the line in Game 3, with Embiid making six of nine attempts.

Trent was limited to 10 minutes of action in Game 2 because of illness, and didn’t play in …

Things get chippy as Sixers cruise to 2-0 series lead over Raptors

 

Coming into the 2022 NBA playoffs, the sentiment was that the series between the Philadelphia 76ers and Toronto Raptors would be a close one. Through two games, it has been anything but.

Joel Embiid had 29 points and 11 rebounds, while Tyrese Maxey added 21 points, eight assists and eight rebounds, leading the Sixers to 112-97 win over the Raptors to take a 2-0 series lead.

After a close first quarter that saw Toronto hold a one-point advantage, Philly dominated the rest of the way. The Sixers outscored the Raptors 35-19 to take a 15-point lead at half-time and never looked back.

This was the second-straight blowout win for the Sixers, who have looked like the much sharper team on both ends of the floor. Philly shot 52.2 percent from the field, while its defense was stellar once again. Toronto could not get consistent penetration, and the Sixers held the Raptors to just 34.4 shooting from outside.

Pre-game

  • It is LOUD at the Center. The fans went crazy when North Philly’s Dawn Staley was introduced as tonight’s bell ringer. The South Carolina women’s basketball coach just led the Gamecocks to their second national title in the last six seasons.
  • After his dynamite performance in Game 1, Tyrese Maxey gets an appreciative roar from the crowd when he’s introduced as part of the starting lineup.
  • Scottie Barnes is out with an ankle injury, but Gary Trent Jr. and Thad Young are playing.

First quarter

  • The Raptors came out hot to begin the game. They connected on two three-point attempts and jumped out to an early 8-0 lead.
  • There is a ton of intensity to start. Embiid and Anunoby got into it, and the refs gave them each a technical foul.
  • Philly got buckets from Embiid and Harden to get on the board. Then, Joel was absolutely mauled by Pascal Siakam during this play:
  • That play seemed to wake the Sixers up. After being down 11-2, Philly went on an 11-2 run to tie up. Harden found Embiid in transition for

Sixers sweep Cavs to clinch playoff berth, Embiid drops 44

The Philadelphia 76ers are in the playoffs for the fifth consecutive season.

Philadelphia clinched a postseason berth Sunday with a 112-108 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers at Rocket Mortgage Field House. A 44-point performance from Joel Embiid helped the Sixers hold off a late push from the Cavs.

This was a different route to the playoffs for the Sixers than it was in the previous four years.

All of the headlines coming into the season revolved around Ben Simmons’ future with the team. The three-time All-Star requested a trade in August during a meeting with Sixers management.

It took until the Feb. 10 trade deadline, but Sixers president of basketball operations Daryl Morey took advantage of James Harden’s unhappiness with the Brooklyn Nets to add the former NBA MVP in a blockbuster trade involving Simmons.

Even before the trade was made, Philadelphia was firmly in playoff contention thanks to Embiid.

Embiid remains the center around whom everything works. He is having an MVP-caliber season, entering Sunday averaging 30.0 points, 11.5 rebounds and 4.3 assists per game while shooting 49.4 percent from the floor and 36.4 percent from deep.

Tyrese Maxey is in the midst of a breakout season as the starting point guard. The second-year standout entered Sunday putting up 17.2 points and 4.3 assists per game while shooting 41.6 percent from three-point range. And Matisse Thybulle has solidified himself as one of the best wing defenders in the NBA.

After missing eight straight games with a hamstring injury, Harden’s debut for the 76ers was a massive success. He dropped 27 points and dished out 12 assists in a 133-102 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves on Feb. 25.

That was probably the most wide-open I’ve ever been in my career,” Embiid joked with reporters after that game, in which he scored 34 points and grabbed 10 rebounds.

Bringing in Harden is supposed to be the next step in the process for a 76ers team that is trying to get over the hump in the playoffs.

The Sixers haven’t advanced past …

Durant, Nets rout 76ers in Simmons’ return to Philadelphia

The 76ers fans came to boo Ben Simmons. They left booing their own team.

Kevin Durant scored 18 of his 25 points in Brooklyn’s dominating first half in the Nets’ 129-100 blowout victory over the 76ers on Thursday night in Simmons’ much-hyped return to Philadelphia.

Seth Curry added 24 points, and Kyrie Irving had 22 for the Nets. They entered in eighth place in the East, but looked like a legitimate conference contender while badly outplaying the third-place 76ers.

Joel Embiid had 27 points and 12 rebounds for the 76ers, and James Harden finished with just 11 points. It was the first loss for Philadelphia in six games with Harden in the lineup.

The game was dubbed as ”Boo Ben” night, but the raucous fans instead turned their displeasure on the home team when the 76ers went to the locker room trailing 72-51 and again when Brooklyn built a stunning 32-point lead in the third quarter.

”I think all of us look at Ben as our brother,” Durant said. ”We knew this was a hostile environment. It’s hard to chant at Ben Simmons when you’re losing by that much.”

Simmons, wearing a designer hockey jersey and flashy jewelry, watched from the bench, likely taking delight in the vitriol deflected away from him. The three-time All-Star is continuing to recover from a back injury that has sidelined him since being swapped for Harden in a blockbuster deal at the trade deadline.

”We definitely felt like Ben was on our heart,” Irving said. ”If you come at Ben, you come at us.”

While Simmons hasn’t taken the floor yet, Harden had been a boon for the 76ers unlike his time in Brooklyn, where the so-called Big 3 of Harden, Durant and Irving managed to play just 16 games together following Harden’s trade to Brooklyn last January that was billed as a potentially championship move. Harden exchanged fist bumps with Nets staff members just before tip before a shockingly poor performance from the 10-time All-Star and former MVP.

Harden missed 14 of 17 …

Joel Embiid’s 42 points and a balanced scoring attack power 76ers past Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Bucks, 123-120

Joel Embiid was back to his dominant self Thursday night, finishing with game-highs of 42 points and 14 rebounds to go with five assists. This marked his ninth 40-point, 10-rebound game this season.

With the win, the Sixers (35-23) moved up to third place in the Eastern Conference standings. They head into the NBA All-Star break 2½ games behind the first-place Miami Heat.

“I’m playing at such a high level, I don’t want to stop,” Embiid said of the All-Star break. “I want to keep on going. I feel really good. I’m not gonna just not work or take a couple days off.”

But this game wasn’t decided until the Bucks’ Khris Middleton missed a 31-foot three-pointer at the buzzer.

All this comes after the Sixers suffered one of their worst defeats in franchise history.

On Tuesday, the game against the Celtics seemed more like an afterthought. Most of the focus of that day went to the introductory press conference for Harden and Paul Millsap, who were acquired from the Brooklyn Nets in exchange for Ben Simmons, Seth Curry, Andre Drummond, and two first-round picks. Then came the excitement associated with Harden ringing the bell prior to the game. And more attention was paid to Harden’s outfit than the barrage of three-pointers the Celtics were raining early.

All that led to a humbling 48-point loss to Boston.

“There was a lot of stuff going on,” Georges Niang said. “But I hate to put any blame on that. You know what I mean? We are professional athletes. It’s not like this is our first rodeo. So like I said before, I don’t want to say it happens. We got popped. It is what it is.”

Doc Rivers knows the perfect time for Sixers to win an NBA championship is this season

With Harden still sidelined with left hamstring strain, the expectation was the Sixers would suffer the same fate against the Bucks.

But Embiid and the Sixers’ balanced attack didn’t let that happen.

Tyrese Maxey and Tobias Harris both had 19 …

Mitchell, Gobert lead Jazz over 76ers for 6th straight win

Donovan Mitchell scored 22 points, Rudy Gobert had 17 points and 21 rebounds and the Utah Jazz extended their winning streak to six games with a 118-96 victory over the Philadelphia 76ers on Thursday night. Hassan Whiteside added 14 points and 10 rebounds for Utah.

Joel Embiid had 19 points and nine rebounds for the 76ers. Seth Curry scored 18 points and Tobias Harris 17 for Philadelphia, which had won four of five.

Both teams were playing the second night of a back-to-back, and it was the 76ers who looked tired after halftime.

“I think you go through the ebb and flow of the season, sometimes you just decide not to be tired,” Jazz coach Quin Snyder said. “When you’re playing the right way, it makes it easier.”

The Jazz were coming off a 136-104 win over Minnesota on Wednesday night in which they made 25 3-pointers, two shy of their season high. “They’re playing free,” Philadelphia coach Doc Rivers said. “They get a lot of 3’s up, they stretch the floor. They’re a tough basketball team, especially offensively.”

But against the Sixers, the Jazz, who finished with 15 3-pointers, used their inside game to take control in the third quarter. Whiteside’s three-point play pushed their advantage to double-digits, and Rudy Gay’s finish from close range and a foul shot for another three-point play gave Utah its biggest lead to that point, 71-58 with 2:27 left in the third.

The Jazz kept it up in the fourth, taking firm command on Jordan Clarkson’s 3-pointer that put them up 99-81 with 7:21 left. Utah’s lead reached as many as 23 points in a dominating fourth quarter.

“I didn’t feel like we had a lot tonight,” Rivers said.Embiid was back on the court for the seventh straight contest after missing nine in a row due to COVID-19 protocols. He has looked more like himself of late, scoring 32 points and being active in Philadelphia’s 110-106 win at Charlotte on Wednesday, when the 76ers completed a two-game sweep of the host Hornets over …

Joel Embiid, Philly steal home-court back with Game 3 win over Atlanta

The Philadelphia 76ers have reclaimed home-court advantage in their best-of-seven series with the Atlanta Hawks following their 127-111 win in Game 3 on Friday night.

As he has been throughout the series, Joel Embiid was masterful for the Sixers as he finished the win with a team-high 27 points. He had plenty of help though as Philadelphia had five other players also score in double figures with Tobias Harris leading the way with 22 points to help Embiid’s cause. On the other side, Trae Young led the Hawks with 28 points but, in the end, his contributions combined with the 59 points that John Collins, Bogdan Bogdanovic and Danilo Gallinari totaled weren’t enough to come away with the win at State Farm Arena.

Philadelphia now has an opportunity to push Atlanta’s backs against the wall if they’re able to pick up another win in Game 4 on Monday night.

Here are three key takeaways from the game:

1. Embiid dominates again

If you didn’t know that Joel Embiid had suffered a small meniscus tear in the first round, you would never be able to tell by the way he’s played against the Hawks. He put up 39 points and nine rebounds in Game 1.He followed that up with 40 points and 13 rebounds in Game 2, and then recorded 27 points, nine rebounds, eight assists and three blocks on Friday night in Game 3.

The Hawks have no answer for him, and he’s showing exactly why he finished second in MVP voting this season. He’s become such a gifted offensive player that opponents often have no choice but to foul him. He got to the line a whopping 16 times in Game 3 and has now earned free throws on 24.5 percent of his offensive possessions in the playoffs, per Synergy Sports.

Of course, he’s no slouch on the defensive end either, and was especially strong in Game 3. Just take this possession for example. He sprints across the lane to show help on Danilo Gallinari, recovers to his man, …

Trae Young, Atlanta survive Game 1 after Joel Embiid, Philly storm back late

The Philadelphia 76ers and Atlanta Hawks tipped off their second-round series at the Wells Fargo Center on Sunday afternoon after both teams made short work of their opening-round opponents. If Game 1 was any indication, the series promises to be a lot tougher for both teams. The Hawks ultimately pulled out a 128-124 victory, but it was far from easy for them.

After dominating the first 24 minutes of the contest and taking a 20-point lead into halftime, the Hawks had their hands full in the second half as the Sixers made a furious comeback to cut the lead all the way down to three in the closing minutes of the contest. Despite being outscored 70-54 in the second half, Atlanta was able to hold on for the win, though coach Nate McMillan likely won’t be happy with his team’s play down the stretch of the game.

 

Just as he did against the New York Knicks in the first round, Trae Young led the way for Atlanta, especially early on. Young lit the Sixers up for 25 points and seven assists in the first half alone, and finished the game with 35 points and 10 assists. In the process, Young became the first Hawks player ever to record 35 points and 10 assists in a playoff game. He also got some major help from John Collins and Bogdan Bogdanović, as that duo combined for 42 points and eight rebounds.

One huge question regarding the series was answered before Game 1 even started: Would Joel Embiid play? He did, despite suffering a small tear in his meniscus against the Wizards. Embiid started for the Sixers, played a game-high 38 minutes and scored a game-high 39 points to go along with nine rebounds, four assists and three blocks. While Sixers fans were certainly happy to see him out on the floor, his production wasn’t quite enough to help Philadelphia pull out a win in this one.

Even though they almost gave it away at the end, the Hawks have to feel …

Russell Westbrook makes history as Washington forces Game 5

The Philadelphia 76ers lost Joel Embiid to a knee injury during the first quarter of Game 4 of their best-of-seven series against the Washington Wizards but that was just one of their issues coming out of Monday night’s matchup in D.C. as the Wizards were able to take advantage of Embiid’s absence in order to pick up a 122-114 win to extend the series to, at least, a Game 5.

While Bradley Beal performed at a high level as he has throughout the series, he finally received some support on the offensive end as Washington had seven players, including their entire starting five, score in double figures. Philadelphia was able to hold off Washington in the first half to take a one-point lead into the break but it was the Wizards who took control from there on out.

With the win, this series will shift back to Philadelphia for Game 5 as that matchup is scheduled to take place on Wednesday night at Wells Fargo Center.

Here are three key takeaways from the game:

1. Embiid leaves after hard fall

Yes, the Wizards won the game and extended the series, but the biggest takeaway from this game is by far Joel Embiid’s injury. Late in the first quarter, Embiid drove to the basket and tried to contort his body to get a shot away against Robin Lopez. In the process he lost his balance and landed awkwardly on the baseline.

He got up grabbing his hip and lower back, and that seemed to be the problem based on his landing. However, the Sixers later announced that he would be out for the rest of the game due to knee soreness. Upon further review of the video, you can see that he sort of jolts his knee when he comes down, and that was apparently a bigger issue.

When Embiid left the game, the Sixers were leading 20-12. Without him, they were outscored by 16 points the rest of the way and ended up losing 122-114. They’re still a better team …