Jacari McRae | December 19th, 2019
The Miami Heat are now responsible for handling the Philadelphia 76ers, Milwaukee Bucks, and Toronto Raptors their first home losses. After struggling against the Heat’s zone defense, the Sixers finally figured out the zone, charging all the way back to within two points. Al Horford’s three-point attempt with 4.8 seconds left fell short, and the Heat came away with a 108-104 win. The win improves the Heat’s season record to 20-8.
Here are my takeaways from Wednesday’s victory over the 76ers.
Bam on the Attack
The last time these two teams faced each other, the 76ers hardly paid any attention to Bam Adebayo. This time around Bam made them pay, scoring 14 of the team’s first 29 points. He scored off the dribble, hit the mid-range jumpers, and shot flip shots close to the basket. Bam’s versatility on the defensive end was also in full display.
Adebayo closed the night with 23 points, 9 boards, five assists, two steals, and two blocks.
After trailing by as many as 12 points in the first half, the Heat decided to utilize its zone defense. And it worked pretty well for the team in the second period. The Heat went from being down 12 points to lead by eight at halftime. Miami outscored Philadelphia 37-19 in the second period.
From there, the Heat never looked back. The 76ers never led in the second half, with the Heat maintaining the lead the rest of the way. Even though Philadelphia figured out the zone defense, in the end, the Heat still found a way to close the game.
The Return of the Dragon?
During the Heat’s game, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported that the Heat are optimistic about Goran Dragic returning for Friday’s game against the New York Knicks. Dragic has missed the last nine games with a groin injury. Playing off the bench this season, Dragic is averaging 15.9 points and 5.0 assists per game.
Heat guard Goran Dragic (groin) is missing his ninth straight game tonight vs. Sixers, but there’s optimism that he can make his return on Friday against New York, league sources tell ESPN. Dragic’s averaged 16 points in 28 minutes a game this season.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) December 19, 2019
The Heat have clearly missed his production off the bench. Without Goran and Justise Winslow, Miami Heat rookie guard Tyler Herro was tasked with running the offense. And Jimmy Butler, who has been exhausted the past few games, has been handling more of the ball-handling duties.
Next up: The New York Knicks on Friday. Game tips off at 8pm ET.
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