Here are my main takeaways and “best” and “worst” awards from the 76ers’ 113-103, loss to the Miami Heat in Game 2 of an Eastern Conference quarterfinal series Monday night at the Wells Fargo Center.
- The Sixers need Joel Embiid. The all-star center missed his 10th consecutive game after suffering an orbital bone fracture near his left eye on March 28. Without him Monday, the Sixers didn’t have a go-to guy to settle them down when things were getting out of hand.
- Embiid could become a big distraction if he doesn’t play soon. The all-star center went to Instagram after the game to voice his displeasure with not playing. He posted, “[Freaking] sick and tired of being babied.” Then he told ESPN, “I promised the city the playoffs and I’m not on the court, and I may not be on Thursday [for Game 3], either. I wish more than anything that I was out there. I just want the green light to play.”
- The Sixers looked nothing like that squad that hit a franchise playoff-record 18 three-pointers in Game 1. On Monday, they made just 7 of 36 threes, 19.4 percent. The Sixers missed a lot of uncontested shots. Robert Covington had the worst three-point shooting night, going 1 for 9.
- As expected, the Heat were more physical this time around. They had someone in Ben Simmons‘ face constantly. They created fewer scoring opportunities for the Sixers as Simmons’ passing lanes shrunk. But he wasn’t the problem in Philly’s loss, finishing with 24 points, nine rebounds and eight assists.
- The Sixers could have used Justin Anderson to match Miami’s physicality. He wouldn’t have done any worse than the players who were out there. However, the reserve swingman didn’t get his number called.
‘Best’ and ‘worst’ awards
- Best performance: This was easy. Dwyane Wade flat-out dominated the Sixers. He scored a game-high 28 points in just 25 minutes, 58 seconds in a reserve role. Twenty-one of his points came on 8-for-9 shooting in the first half.
- Worst performance: Covington couldn’t avoid this award. He finished with seven points while shooting just 3 for 13 overall. He had a game-worst minus-12 rating.
- Best defensive performance: Sixers power forward Dario Saric had a game-high four steals to go with one block.
- Worst statistic: This goes to the Sixers’ three-point shooting.
- Best statistic: I have to give this to Wade’s making 8 of 9 first-half shots.