Miami Heat Playoffs: Why There’s No Real Worry After Game 3 Defeat

Joel Embiid #21 of the Philadelphia 76ers talks to Jimmy Butler #22 of the Miami Heat(Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
Joel Embiid #21 of the Philadelphia 76ers talks to Jimmy Butler #22 of the Miami Heat(Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /

The Miami Heat started their Eastern Conference Semifinals series leading 2-0, only to fall short on Friday night to the Philadelphia 76ers. Several factors changed in this game, but the biggest difference was clearly the return of Philly superstar Joel Embiid.

While Embiid made some contributions through scoring and rebounding, his presence on the defensive end helped limit the Heat to 79 points. This makes people question whether the Heat can hold on to their series lead or if they are in trouble.

However, the Heat should have nothing to worry about based on that game, and here is why.

First, Joel Embiid was not the only player to return in Game 3. Kyle Lowry also returned.

He didn’t make quite as big an impact as the Miami Heat would have hoped, but that should change moving forward. He was still getting his legs back after being sidelined with a hamstring injury.

While that type of injury could make it difficult to quickly get back into the pace of the game, Lowry doesn’t necessarily rely on his athleticism to blow by defenders as someone like James Harden might.

After going up 2-0 in the series, the Miami Heat were met with a tough loss in Game 3 against Philly, however, they should not be worried. Here is why.

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Furthermore, Lowry is one of the best at breaking down defenses. Philly has played zone for some early stretches of this series, which caused Miami a bit of trouble.

Lowry will help move the ball and break down whatever defense Philly might throw at Miami. Second, the Heat were still able to play their game.

Despite Philly re-introducing a seven-footer into the lineup, the Heat grabbed ten offensive rebounds in the game. Miami continued to play physically and battled their way to earn second-chance points.

This is a bright spot moving forward. Another bright spot is that their defense still looked cohesive, particularly when it came to guarding Embiid. They held Embiid to 5/12 shooting and helped force 18 turnovers.

If the Miami Heat continue to stick to that plan, they should have no problem earning two more victories in the series. The third point builds off the last point.

The Heat did not allow Embiid to beat them. Sometimes, teams just have an unlucky night.

That was the case for Miami on Friday. They didn’t shoot particularly well.

On the other hand, everyone other than Embiid shot very well. James Harden played well in the first half, then Tyrese Maxey exploded in the second half.

The biggest surprise is that Danny Green scored 21 points on 7 for 9 shooting from three. If you have ever listened to Jalen Rose during the NBA playoffs, you have probably heard him say that role players play better at home.

That was the case for Philadelphia. Luckily, the Heat still have up to two more home games in this series.

It is highly unlikely that Green shoots as well as he did in Game 3 moving forward, at least, not to that magnitude. As long as the Miami Heat can continue to limit Embiid, they should like their chances to win here.

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Basically, the thinking should be that the other players cannot beat them, because they can’t. That’s why they shouldn’t be worried about the Game 3 defeat.