MIAMI — The Philadelphia 76ers entered FTX Arena on Tuesday night looking to take control of this second-round series with the Miami Heat. The Sixers had won Games 3 and 4 pretty easily with the return of Joel Embiid and it seemed as if all of the momentum was on their side.
Instead, the Heat jumped on them early and they kept them down the entire game. Miami led by 18 points in the first half and after Philadelphia had cut the deficit to 10 in the third quarter, the Heat then went on a huge run to lead by as many as 37 and destroy the Sixers 120-85 in Game 5. They now hold a 3-2 lead as the series shifts back to Philadelphia.
It was obvious that the Sixers just didn’t have it from the jump and the poor effort was surprising following two good wins at home. Afterward, they tried explaining what went wrong from the jump.
Doc Rivers can’t explain the effort
“Do not. Obviously, they just were so much more engaged, more physical, took us out of stuff, there was a lot of disappointment from all of us tonight (Tuesday).”
Rivers on Philadelphia’s offensive struggles
“They were just more physical. We didn’t run our stuff very well. We played at a snail’s pace. We had 85 shots, turned the ball over, everything they did tonight was harder and better. Their stuff was better than what we ran, their energy was better, their toughness was better, I haven’t said that very often about us, and that’s on all of us. That’s on me to make sure they’re ready and that’s on them to be ready. Tonight, we were not.”
“Defend. We didn’t pay defense. We weren’t physical enough, we weren’t locked in from the beginning, and they took advantage of it.”
Tobias Harris on the effort
“Our energy wasn’t there from the start of the game. Obviously, they made a bunch of plays that we really weren’t able to go back at. From the start of it, they kinda deflated us and we weren’t able to get back into it and get that type of rhythm that we wanted during the course of the game. It’s disappointing, it’s a tough loss just considering the expectation going into the game and we wanted to accomplish, but we gotta get back on track.”
Harris on why they didn’t have it
“Honestly, I wish I could, but it’s unfortunate that that was the type of start we had to the game, but I can’t pinpoint what it was.”
James Harden on Philadelphia not being physical
“They were physical, we missed shots, they got off to a good start. Being down 12 in the first quarter on the road against a really good team is difficult. We cannot allow that to happen. Especially, Game 5 and the two games where we just came off our home court playing well. It is difficult to come back and fight your way back and we just never got our pop.”
Harden on the Sixers not being engaged
“They got 31 points in that first quarter. We were not engaged defensively and that slowed down our offense. We have to be engaged, we got to be locked in. In the second round of the playoffs on the road in a Game 5, it’s not good enough just to play hard. You have to be able to think possession by possession and we just didn’t put enough thinking possessions together and that was the case.”