Instant Observations: 76ers Survive Heat Comeback Attempt, Grab Second Consecutive Victory

Instant Observations: 76ers Survive Heat Comeback Attempt, Grab Second Consecutive Victory Mar 18, 2024; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Philadelphia 76ers guard Tyrese Maxey (0) drives for a shot against the Miami Heat during the first quarter at Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

The Philadelphia 76ers (38-30) survived a late comeback attempt by the Miami Heat (37-31), defeating them 98-91 on Monday night at the Wells Fargo Center.

Tyrese Maxey led the Sixers with 30 points, eight rebounds and 10 assists. Kelly Oubre Jr. finished with 22 points, 11 rebounds and four blocks. Kyle Lowry totaled 16 points, four rebounds and two steals.

Joel Embiid (left knee meniscus procedure), Tobias Harris (right ankle sprain), De’Anthony Melton (lumbar spine bone stress), Robert Covington (left knee bone bruise) and Kai Jones (right hamstring strain) were all out for the Sixers.

Head coach Nick Nurse spoke to reporters, via Derek Bodner of PHLY Sports, before the game about multiple of the team’s injured players. Embiid is doing some on-court work at practice, but has not yet progressed to participating in full-team activities. Harris, who is missing his second consecutive game, will be with the team on their upcoming West Coast road trip. There is no update regarding the back injury that has held Melton to just five games played since the calendar flipped to 2024.

Bam Adebayo finished with 20 points, 13 rebounds and six assists for Miami. Terry Rozier added 20 points and eight rebounds.

The Heat were without Jimmy Butler (right foot contusion), Tyler Herro (right foot medial tendinitis), Nikola Jovic (right hamstring strain), Josh Richardson (right shoulder surgery) and Kevin Love (right heel bruise).

The win, combined with a Indiana Pacers loss earlier Monday night, moved the Sixers up into the sixth seed in the Eastern Conference. The Sixers begin a four game West Coast road trip with a matchup against the Phoenix Suns on Wednesday night. Here are some instant observations from the win over the Heat:


– A strong Maxey performance is necessary for the Sixers to even have any chance at competing in games with Embiid out of the lineup. On that front, it quickly became apparent they were in line for a monster performance from the first-time All-Star guard. Maxey opened up the game like he was shot out of a cannon, scoring 14 of the Sixers’ first 19 points. His most impressive make during this hot start came on an acrobatic finish around the rim.

Maxey also knocked down a 3-pointer from well beyond the arc over a strong contest from Caleb Martin. He sprinkled in made shots from all over the floor on his way to scoring 17 points in the first quarter.

The 23-year old was dominant offensively against the Heat. A lot of his damage came on shots from the mid-range, an area of the floor he typically struggles in. It did not matter whether his shots were coming off the dribble, on pull-ups or in catch-and-shoot situations. His success from the mid-range helped open up more driving lanes, something he took advantage of throughout the game. Improving his mid-range shooting should be the next step in Maxey’s offensive progression.

– Oubre has had his share of ups and downs this season, but his play of late has been more in the positive column. That trend continued against Miami, with Oubre excelling as the Sixers’ second scoring option. He scored multiple baskets either on drives to the basket or from good off-ball cuts. His adjustment to playing more as a slasher around the basket rather than relying on his inconsistent outside shooting has transformed his game. He is both a much more dangerous and efficient scorer when relying on his slashing ability.

In addition to his scoring output, Oubre also had one of his better defensive games of the season. He made multiple strong plays as a help defender, including a big block on a Thomas Bryant layup attempt in the first half. Oubre is often much maligned for his poor defense, but that was not the case against the Heat.

– This was one of Lowry’s most well rounded performances since joining the Sixers’ roster earlier this season. He made a couple of important baskets in the fourth quarter, including a crucial up-and-under layup through traffic in the final minutes. The 18-year veteran was aggressive as a scorer, and it paid off in the biggest moments of the game.

– While Nic Batum has been in a shooting slump in recent weeks, games like the one against Miami showcase the different ways he is capable of impacting the game. He grabbed eight rebounds and played excellent defense. His effort defensively on Duncan Robinson essentially made him a non-factor.

Mo Bamba had a good game against the Heat, making multiple positive plays on both ends of the floor. Offensively, Bamba spaced the floor effectively by knocking down a couple of 3-pointers. He even made a great assist as a short-roll passer, setting up Oubre for a bucket at the rim. On the other end of the floor, he recorded a pair of blocks and steals while generally playing solid defense around the rim. He finished the game with eight points, four rebounds, three assists, two steals and two blocks.


– The Sixers’ offense went through some major bumps in the road throughout this contest against the Heat. For as good of a game as Maxey had, the offense completely collapsed with him on the bench in the first several minutes of the fourth quarter. During that time, Miami was able to claw their way back into the game after being down by double digits.

The Heat did a good job effectively mixing up their defensive looks in this contest. The Sixers struggled both against Miami’s zone defense and then their full-court pressure in the fourth quarter. Fortunately, they were able to get just enough timely shots to fall in the final minutes to pull out the victory.

Go to top button