After rolling to a 2–0 series lead against the 76ers, the Heat dropped Game 3 on Friday night, 99–79, as Philadelphia rode the home momentum and return of superstar Joel Embiid to get back into their second round series.
Embiid, who missed the first two games of the series due to a broken orbital bone in his face and a concussion, returned to score 18 points and add 11 rebounds. It’s also worth noting that Embiid is also playing through a torn ligament in his thumb which will require surgical correction after the season.
Embiid’s return completely neutralized Heat big man Bam Adebayo, who scored only nine points on 2-for-9 shooting, while adding a mere three rebounds. Adebayo’s struggles were one of several reasons for the Heat’s Game 3 blowout defeat.
“I’ve got to get my teammates easier baskets,” Adebayo told the Miami Herald.
“Adjust my screens and get the ball moving more. If we’re stagnant, then [Embiid is] going to be in the paint and can be as effective as possible. I’ve got to set better screens for my teammates, get bigger gaps so they can come off and either attack or hit the pocket, and we can make plays from there,” he added.
Adebayo regretted not being more aggressive on Friday night in his matchup against Embiid.
“I mean he’s 7’1”. If he stands on the goal, obviously he’s going to be effective. Just trying to get him off the [basket area] and continue to try to get my teammates easy layups. I’ve still got to be aggressive.”
Adebayo will have his opportunity for payback in Sunday’s Game 4 matchup. Tip-off is slated for 8 p.m. ET on TNT.
More NBA Coverage:
- Joel Embiid’s Return Gives the 76ers Life
- Embiid Opens Up About Siakam Elbow, Raptors Fan Reaction
- Celtics’ Marcus Smart Officially Available for Game 3
- Inside The Heat: Miami Heat’s Victor Oladipo `Getting Back To Himself'
For more Miami Heat coverage, go to Inside The Heat.