The Miami Heat reached the Eastern Conference finals for the sixth time in 12 seasons and the second time in three years.
No need to detour for Game 7 against the Philadelphia 76ers.
The Heat took control in the third quarter, beating the 76ers 99-90 at the Wells Fargo Center on Thursday night to wrap up a 3-1 semifinal in the Eastern Conference Seven.
The Heat didn’t quite quiet the Philly crowd this time after taking two big hits at the 76ers’ home ground earlier in the series, but they did create a sizzle that started and continued in the third quarter. boo.
The Heat are next to the winners of the Eastern Conference semifinals, with the Milwaukee Bucks leading the Boston Celtics 3-2 heading into Friday’s Game 6 in Milwaukee.
For all the Sixers’ woes, from the facial fracture that kept center Joel Embiid out for the first two games of the series, to the knee injury that sidelined Philadelphia forward Danny Green earlier Thursday, the Heat overcame themselves. of adversity, winning the final two games of the series, with point guard Kyle Lowry reduced to a spectator with a strained hamstring.
Jimmy Butler kept his postseason solid with 32 points and Max Struth continued his postseason rise with 20 points and 11 rebounds. The Heat also had 10 points and eight rebounds from center Bam Adebayo, who provided Embiid with a strong defense.
Embiid had 20 points for the 76ers but went 7-for-24 from the field. Beyond that, Tyrese Maxey had 20 points, Tobias Harris had 14 and James Harden had 11, but there was little lasting substance for Philly.
Five degrees of heat for Thursday’s game:
1. Closing time: The Heat led 28-25 in the first quarter and 49-48 at halftime. A 23-4 run in the third quarter extended the lead to 16 points before the 76ers entered the fourth quarter 74-63.
The 76ers then cut the Heat’s 20-point lead to 11 with 2:47 left, before Gabe Vincent replaced Lowry with a 3-pointer with 2:21 left. Score the ball.
2. Make a statement: Butler scored nine points in the first 5:01 of the game, then went scoreless for the remainder of the first half.
He then scored 13 points into the third quarter as the Heat started a 19-4 run. He ended the third quarter with 14 points in this quarter, scoring 21 points.
Butler’s 17th moved him past Mark Aguirre for 85th on the NBA playoffs all-time scoring list, and his 22nd moved him past Joe Dumars for 84th.
3. Subtle radiance: For Heat coach Erik Spoelstra, it’s been a fidgety few days when it comes to questions about Adebayo’s stats. Thursday was another night where the Heat center’s numbers hardly told the most substantial story.
In one-on-one defenses with Embiid, Adebayo was often on the defensive end, helping the Sixers center go 6-for-12 in the first three periods of the game.
Unlike Spoelstra’s cautious approach, it was either Embiid or bust for the Sixers, who played 92 seconds in all three periods. With 97 seconds of rest before Embiid returned in the fourth quarter, he airdropped a 3-pointer.
4. Strus, again: Struth followed up his 19-point effort in Game 5 with 16 points in the first half on Thursday after a poor start to the series.
Struth opened 3-for-5 from 3-point range, and the rest of the Heat went 1-for-10 from beyond the arc in the first half (Butler made a 3-pointer).
Struth also hit the rebound again, finishing with his second career double-double in the playoffs.
Heat head coach Eric Spoelstra tried to give Duncan Robinson another rotation role but pulled him down immediately after Harden re-entered the Sixers.
5. The beginning of a compromise: The 76ers lost Green to a knee injury in just 3:06.
That forced Mattis Thybulle, who was quickly called for two fouls, followed by Shaq Milton.
Thybulle opened the second half in place of Green, who tormented the Heat on 10-of-13 three-pointers in Philadelphia’s first two home games. Green converted his only 3-point attempt before exiting on Thursday.