Philadelphia — The Miami Heat are heading to the Eastern Conference Finals for the second time in three years after closing the Philadelphia 76ers 99-90 in Game Six of the second round Thursday night.
As it has been throughout the series, it was so Jimmy Butler Who led the way when his team needed him most. Having only made 3-10 points in the first half, Butler managed to roll in the third quarter, scoring 14 of his 32 points while carrying his team across the finish line.
Max Strauss He picked up the offensive slack for the second game in a row, amassing 16 of 20 points in the first half while setting the tone for a Heat team that came confident they would eliminate shots after taking a 14-for-65 lead from just over the arc during losses in games 3 and 4 in Philadelphia. .
Joel EmbiidTheir injuries were the main headlines of the story, both within and during the series. But it was Butler’s overall performance that rose to prominence over the past week and a half as Embiid, who also had a thumb ligament injury as well as an orbital fracture, struggled to deliver the same kind of caliber MVP performances. That set his regular season.
After a shaky 1 game where he went 5 for 16 only from the field, Butler found his rhythm and pushed his game close to the level he made during the playoffs in 2020. Butler had a combined 73 points in games 3 and 4 and collected 23 points, nine rebounds and six assists during Decisive victory in the fifth game on Tuesday evening.
After Game Five, Butler said, “More than anything, my teammates, my coaches, and this whole organization really believe in the player I am,” explaining why he has repeatedly upped his game during his three years in Miami. “The player I’ve become over the years. So they let me be here.
“They just let me train without saying much. Good, bad, indifferent, they just swing with me. I think that is the best feeling I have, especially now in the playoffs. And I think that is why coach Pat [Riley] Bring me here and we are where we are.”
Now The Heat awaits the winner of the Milwaukee Bucks-Boston Celtics series. The Bucks have a 3-2 lead in the series. Game six of that series takes place Friday night in Milwaukee.
The Bucks-Heat game will mark the third consecutive season that the two teams have met in the playoffs. The Heat beat the Bucks in the Eastern Conference semifinals in 2020 before the Bucks swept the Heat into the Eastern Conference quarterfinals in 2021.