Sport

Jimmy Butler, Heat Rout 76ers in Game 5

MIAMI — Shots rang out again for the Miami Heat. They kept Joel Embiid and James Harden in check. Her trainer got an in-game massage from DJ Khaled.

Yes, really.

It was that kind of night for the Heat, who — even without everyone rubbing their shoulders — feel pretty good about their playoff prospects again.

Jimmy Butler scored 23 points, Max Strus added 19 points and 10 rebounds, and the Heat moved one win away from a trip to the Eastern Conference Finals by beating the Philadelphia 76ers 120-85 on Tuesday.

The 35-point margin of victory equaled the largest in this year’s playoffs to date — Philadelphia beat Toronto in the series winner of that first-round matchup by 35 points — and equaled the second-largest in Heat’s postseason history.

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Bam Adebayo and the Heat took a 3-2 lead against the 76ers on Tuesday.
EPA

“They were just more physical,” said 76ers coach Doc Rivers. “We didn’t drive anything. We didn’t manage our things very well. We played at a snail’s pace…everything they did tonight was harder and better. Her stuff was better, her energy was better.”

Victor Oladipo scored 13 for Miami, who got 12 from Bam Adebayo and 10 each from Tyler Herro and PJ Tucker. The top-seeded Heat now lead the East semifinals series 3-2 and improved 6-0 at home in this playoff to become the NBA best-seeker.

Joel Embiid scored 17 points for fourth-place Philadelphia, who received 14 from James Harden and 12 from Tobias Harris. The 76ers were down 15 at the start of the fourth quarter and then gave up 12 straight points to open the period.

“We weren’t focused enough tonight,” Embiid said.

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Joel Embiid of the Philadelphia 76ers lays on the court after colliding with Miami Heat center Dewayne Dedmon in the first half of Game 5 of the NBA Eastern Conference Semifinals series.
EPA

Game 6 is Thursday in Philadelphia, win-or-else for the 76ers, a chance to continue for the Heat.

“We’re capable of that if we get a few stops,” Butler said. “It’s a tough place to play.”

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Jimmy Butler
AP

That’s Miami.

Tyrese Maxey made a deep 3-pointer with 1.5 seconds left in the third to draw Philadelphia within 81-66. What hope the 76ers still had at that moment was short-lived.

A jump from Herro and then five straight points from Strus was the start of Miami’s game-winning tide that opened the fourth. A three-point play by Adebayo increased the lead to 25, at which point Embiid checked out, with the result clearly no longer in question.

“It’s just a game,” said Heat coach Erik Spoelstra. “You know it. We know it.”

It’s been a tough night all round for the Sixers, particularly Embiid – their best player, who is already wearing a mask to protect a fractured face and is dealing with a significant thumb injury.

Embiid was rocked in the first quarter as he attempted to dive into some baseline seats while attempting to save a loose ball. Moments later, he doubled over and grabbed his back.

He stayed in the game after that scare.

He stayed in the game after the next scare, which was significantly worse.

It happened midway through the second quarter when Miami’s Dewayne Dedmon missed a shot and Embiid snapped the rebound. Dedmon, rowing after the ball, touched it – and ended up pushing it back into Embiid’s mask-covered face.

“Pretty painful,” Embiid said.

Embiid lost the ball and fell to the ground, obviously uncomfortable, covering his face with both hands. Oladipo took the ball and scored to make it 42:31, but Embiid’s turn was far more important to the 76ers than giving up two points. Embiid stayed down for a few moments before making his way back to the Philadelphia bank and being treated by doctors.

“He’s tough,” Rivers said. “I think he knew he was going to get punched in the face a couple of times. It will happen. … He got up and after a while said he was fine.”

All the highlights of the second half belonged to Miami, with the exception of a moment that regular DJ Khaled stole on the sidelines.

After the ball went wide near his spot, Khaled snatched the ball from a guard, handed it to Strus and then walked over to the scorer’s table while waving his arms and urging the fans to make some noise. And before returning to his seat at the seat, the rapper gave Spoelstra a shoulder massage.

“I’m honored to be a part of this moment,” said Spoelstra. “He’s such a big fan there. I’ve said hello a few times over the years but this has been the best interaction. that was real It was cool.”

https://nypost.com/2022/05/10/nba-playoffs-jimmy-butler-heat-rout-76ers-in-game-5/ Jimmy Butler, Heat Rout 76ers in Game 5

JOE HERNANDEZ

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