3 Observations: Sixers Get Routed by Heat in Game 5 Down in Miami

By Matt Gregan, Sports Talk Philly Staff Writer

Nothing went right for the Philadelphia 76ers in Game 5. The Miami Heat, back on their home floor, routed the Sixers 120-85 on Tuesday night. The win gave them a 3-2 series lead over Philadelphia.

Jimmy Butler led the way for the Heat, scoring 23 points in addition to grabbing nine rebounds and dishing out six assists. Max Strus added in a double-double, finishing with 19 points and 10 rebounds.

Joel Embiid finished with 17 points on 7-of-12 shooting in the loss.

The Heat were without Kyle Lowry (left hamstring strain) after he re-aggravated the injury early in Game 4.

The Sixers now have their backs up against the wall heading into Game 6 on Thursday night back in Philadelphia. Here are three observations from the blowout loss in Game 5:

Sixers get out to slow start

The home team, in each game so far this series, has played with a big advantage. Game 5 was no different. The Sixers, after throwing two body blows in Games 3 and 4 in Philadelphia, got off to a slow start on both ends of the floor. Butler, after scoring 40 points in Game 4, picked up right where he left off. He did whatever he wanted against the Sixers' defense, getting to his spots with ease. He scored 11 of his points in the first quarter, including knocking down a three. The Sixers tend to feel comfortable letting Butler take shots from three-point range, but he was knocking them down when given space in Game 5.

James Harden had a strong effort in the first quarter for the Sixers. He drove to the basket with confidence, finishing through contact on multiple occasions. He scored seven points in the opening frame, but it did not help the Sixers offense stay in any sort of rhythm.

In an ominous look of how things would play out, the Sixers had three consecutive terrible possessions beginning at the 6:54 mark of the first quarter. The Sixers botched a two-on-one fast break resulting in a Tyrese Maxey missed layup. They followed it up with a Harden turnover and an absolutely brutal attempt at an entry pass to the post from Danny Green which resulted in another turnover. The Sixers would find themselves trailing Miami 31-19 after the first quarter of action.

Embiid's rough night

Embiid struggled on both ends of the floor in Game 5. He was not aggressive offensively, totaling just six points on six shots in the first half. The Heat continued to do a good job fronting him and making it difficult for the Sixers to get him the ball in the post. Multiple players tried and failed to give him a good entry pass into the post. Despite that, he just did not play with the same level of energy he is usually known for.

Things would only get worse for Embiid. With 6:11 left to play in the second quarter, he was on the ground in what looked like immense pain. Replays showed Dewayne Dedmon knocked the ball into Embiid's face, which is certainly not a good sight to see especially considering he is playing with a protective mask due to having an orbital fracture. Embiid, after getting checked out by the Sixers' athletic trainers, did not miss any time due to the play.

Embiid picked things up offensively at times in the third quarter, scoring 11 of his points on 5-of-6 shooting in the quarter. He made a couple nice moves to get around Dedmon and into the paint, but at that point the game was already well out of reach. The Sixers went into the fourth quarter down by 15 points.

While Embiid struggled offensively, his defense and rebounding were both also poor in Game 5. He did not make much of an impact defensively, although not all of the team's struggles on that end of the floor can be attributed to him. Between the incredibly poor perimeter defense and the fouls drawn by Miami on drives to the basket, the Heat were able to get whatever they wanted offensively for much of the night.

Key team stats from the loss

The Sixers were outplayed in every facet of the game. They failed to control the basketball, committing 16 turnovers leading to 23 points off turnovers for the Heat. Some of those turnovers can be attributed to good defense, but most of them were careless and a symptom of the poor effort the Sixers played with in Game 5.

The team's rebounding issues also persisted in Game 5. Miami won the rebounding battle 46-36, but the Sixers actually won the battle on the offensive glass due in large part to a strong effort off the bench from Paul Reed. The second-year product finished with seven points and a team-leading eight rebounds, including six on the offensive glass, in 16 minutes off the bench. While four of those offensive rebounds came in garbage time in the fourth quarter, it was still an impressive performance from Reed.

The Sixers also tried something new with Reed. He put together some solid minutes at the beginning of the second quarter, and head coach Doc Rivers decided to leave him out on the floor when he brought Embiid back out with 7:39 remaining in the quarter. They were on the floor together for just 57 seconds and the results, as pretty much everything was for the Sixers in Game 5, were poor. Victor Oladipo knocked down a three, Shake Milton missed a pair of layups and Reed could not handle a pass inside.

Miami took advantage of their increased depth, as they have throughout the series, to be able to come at the Sixers in waves. Miami's bench outscored the Sixers' bench 41-27, led by 13 points from Oladipo. While the Sixers have to rely much more on their star power to have success, the Heat have a well-rounded roster with a variety of players capable of stepping up and producing. In a sign of how much depth Miami has, Duncan Robinson, a key bench piece for Miami, received extended minutes for the first time in this series. He would go on to finish with four points, two rebounds and an assist in 14 minutes.

The Sixers will look to recover from one of their worst performances of the season in Game 6 on Thursday night.