He changed the tie and the sensations linked to it again. The Heat-Sixers is being a flurry of emotions that began with a 2-0 that seemed unappealable for Miami, and then remained a 2-2 that gave hope to the Sixers. Once again, the series is transformed and now it is the Heat, deservedly so, who seem to be the top favorites. On the one hand, because they have overwhelmed their rivals with an incontestable victory by 35 points and in a game dominated from start to finish. For other, because they have one last bullet in Florida in case they fall in the sixth game, and with a return home for a hypothetical seventh, a place in which they remain undefeated in these playoffs (6-0 so far). Very much, therefore, things for a Heat that could return to the Conference finals for the first time since the Orlando bubble and for the second time since the days of LeBron James and company. And in that round, of course, they would also have home court advantage.. Either against the Celtics or against the Bucks.

The result is slightly misleading, but it does not prevent us from seeing the obvious that the Heat have been clearly and completely superior. But there was a key play: with just over 6 minutes remaining in the second quarter, Joel Embiid grabbed a defensive rebound before Dewayne Dedmon hit the ball that then hit the Sixers center’s face. The star quickly became sore, quickly removing the mask he has been wearing since the third game of the series (he missed the first two after taking a heavy hit from Pascal Siakam) and there were even tears on his face. A few minutes before, he suffered another hard impact on the back after trying to save a ball that went down the sideline. Definitely, a frame for a player that radically changed the way he played, disappeared on offense until a brief appearance in the third quarter and even went to the corner in his team’s offense for many minutes. Fearing penetration, jumping and contact, Doc Rivers’s protests were only worth a technique and the Heat were up 12 at halftime (56-44). And the rest of the game belonged to the Heat.

Embiid’s attempt at rebellion in the third quarter was worth nothing and a triple from a horrible Tyrese Maxey (2 of 10 shots) surprisingly left the Sixers alive with 12 minutes to go (81-66). But it was just a mirage: the Heat started the last period with a 12-0 run and led 99-70 with less than 9 minutes to go.. Doc Rivers, who changed the defense to the zone in the second quarter while Erik Spoelstra tried to counteract it by filling the perimeter with shooters, ran out of solutions and did not let Embiid out for just over a minute in the last quarter, passing the rest of the time on the bench. The time he was on the track, the center permanently touched a mask that goes up when shooting free throws. And the fear he had of further damage was totally obvious and restricted his game. He finished with 17 points and 5 rebounds after two consecutive double-doubles, and only appeared at that time in the spectacular third quarter (11 points), in which he permanently received the high post and from there he approached the basket against Bam Adebayo or Dedmon indistinctly.

And, aside from everything that happened to Embiid, great game for the Heat. They shot over 50% in field goals and touched 40% in triples, grabbed 10 rebounds more than their rivals (46 to 36) and distributed 26 assists that handcuffed some Sixers who lost more balls (15) than passes to the basket gave (14). Jimmy Butler continues at a spectacular level and finished with 23 points, 9 rebounds and 6 assists, in addition to a +36 with him on court, the third best +/- statistic in the entity’s history; up to 7 players exceeded the ten, Max Strus did everything (19 + 10), Gabe Vincent emerged (15 points), Tyler Herro had an irregular first half but improved in the second and Victor Oladipo (13 + 3 + 3 + 2) It is already a differential factor from the bench. In the Sixers, Harden forgot about his great fourth game and stayed at 14 + 6 + 4 in only 13 shots, Danny Green only attempted 4 triples (he converted 2) and Tobias Harris went to 12 points. The Sixers collapsed under pressure on the entire court from their rivals, which left only a handful of seconds to attack a team that needs to mature their attacks a lot. And they sank when they saw that Embiid was touched. In regular season, the Philadelphia team’s record has been 45-23 with Embiid and 6-8 without him. In the playoffs they go from 6-2 (6-3 now) to 0-2. The accounts support them if the center is in the sixth game. But then they have to go back to Miami and win that seventh that nobody knows if it will take place. It has been difficult for them. Very hard.

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