On Wednesday night at FTX Arena, the Miami Heat took a 2-0 lead in their second-round NBA playoff series. The Miami Heat had less work to do in Game 2 than in Game 1 after finishing off the Philadelphia 76ers in the second half.
After going on a blitz to open Game 1, blowing out to a double-digit lead early in the game. They would enable the 6ers to cut the distance before halftime, even taking a one-point lead into halftime before dropping off for the rest of the game. Though it seemed that the Miami Heat might suffer a similar fate on Wednesday. They would, as they so frequently do, learn from their errors.
While the 76ers opened the game with a more team-oriented approach, the Miami Heat would find themselves at the mercy of James Harden to conclude the second quarter.
You thought you might get a taste of Houston James Harden after a rush of scoring towards the conclusion of the second period, based on the way he finished that quarter. However, that was it.
The Miami Heat recognizes their defense and strenuous effort. James Harden can attest that they aren’t playing about those two things in their 76ers matchup.
Let’s be clear about something. James Harden would score 16 points in the first half of Game 2 at the halftime break.
However, during the game, he would only score 20 points. In the remaining 24 minutes of play, that’s just four points.
That’s a long cry from a player who averaged over 30 points for six seasons, at 36.1 points per game in the miami 2018-19 and following up 34.3 points per game in 2019-20, which has been the case since his trade to Philadelphia, basically for the last couple of years.
With Joel Embiid still out, he didn’t have all of his primary weaponry on the court. Tyrese Maxey surged in the second half, stealing the ball away from Harden and scoring 34 points.
However, with Embiid out of the lineup, James Harden is the second-best player. If they want to win, he can’t have games or performances like that.