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Miami Obliterated Philadelphia In Game 5 To Move One Win Away From The Conference Finals

The Miami Heat are on the verge of a berth in the Eastern Conference Finals. Miami played host to the Philadelphia 76ers on Tuesday night, and in one of the most emphatic performances that we’ve seen this postseason, the Heat got up early and never looked back en route to a 120-85 win. As a result, Miami pulled ahead in the series, 3-2, and will look to wrap things up in Philadelphia a little later this week.

Things were back and forth early before the Heat were able to get the first bit of separation. Midway through the first quarter, Miami was able to go on a 12-0 run to give themselves an early 21-10 lead.

While the Sixers were able to keep things from getting too one-sided, the Heat found themselves up by 12 after one in large part due to the shooting that evaded them in the last two games. After connecting on 23.3 percent of their attempts from deep in Game 3 and 20 percent of their triples in Game 4 with the team hitting seven threes in each game, Miami went 5-for-11 (45.5 percent) in the first quarter on Tuesday night — Max Strus, in particular, was feeling it early, as his 11 points (tied with Jimmy Butler for the most in the game through one) came by way of three of his six shots from downtown connecting.

Philly’s offense, meanwhile, struggled to get much of anything going in the first, scoring only 19 points in the game’s opening 12 minutes. While things leveled out a bit in the second quarter, Miami led by as many as 18 points and was able to take a 56-44 lead into the locker room. Butler, in particular, continued to be spectacular, leading the team with 14 points, six rebounds, and three assists at the break.

The most notable moment of the half may have come halfway through the second, when Joel Embiid went down in a heap after securing a rebound. While that happened, Dewayne Dedmond tried to poke the ball away, but ended up pushing it into Embiid’s face, causing him to go down and hold his face — the big man, of course, missed the first two games of the series with a fractured orbital bone and is currently playing with a mask.

Still, he was able to remain in the game, although he struggled in the first half with six points on 2-for-6 shooting and a pair of rebounds. Harden led the way for the Sixers with 10 points, five rebounds, and four assists.

By the end of the third, Miami led by 15. It was a lead that was as many as 20 during the period. And early on in the fourth, Doc Rivers emptied his bench with more than eight minutes remaining and saw the Heat get it up to as many as 37 points. All evening, they were just the team that looked to have that extra pep in their step — the ball moved a little faster, their rotations were a little more crisp, all the little things that happen when a team appears more locked in than the other — while Philadelphia just did not seem to have it from the time the game tipped off.

Butler was Miami’s main man with 23 points, nine rebounds, and six assists, while Strus had a double-double with 19 points and 10 boards. Five other players — Gabe Vincent, Victor Oladipo, Bam Adebayo, PJ Tucker, and Tyler Herro — all hit double-digits in scoring, while Adebayo battled with Embiid on defense all night. For Philly, Embiid had 17 points and five rebounds, Harden had 16 with six boards and four dimes, Tobias Harris had 12, and no one else hit double-digits in scoring.

Game 6 between the Heat and Sixers will take place in Philadelphia on Thursday night at 7 p.m. ET on ESPN.