PHILADELPHIA–The Philadelphia 76ers needed a bounce-back effort following a tough loss to the Boston Celtics at home on Saturday. Their opponent on Monday was the Miami Heat who entered the night losers of four straight and they have had a down season compared to the 2021-22 season.
The Heat gave the Sixers trouble as they led by as many as 11 thanks to the all-around play of Jimmy Butler and while the Sixers rallied and were able to keep it competitive, it wasn’t enough. Butler had 23 points, 11 rebounds, nine assists, and four steals as the Heat were able to walk away with a 101-99 win after James Harden’s triple hit the back rim at the buzzer.
Joel Embiid had another big night and he led the Sixers with 27 points and 11 rebounds. Harden had 20 points, 12 assists, and six rebounds, PJ Tucker had eight points and four rebounds, and Tyrese Maxey added 23 off the bench before fouling out.
Here are the player grades following the loss at home:
James Harden: A-
The Beard got the Sixers off to a good start on the offensive end as he was aggressive with his offense. He was able to shake himself free for a triple and he continues to make moves on offense that suggest he is feeling as healthy as he has been. He and Embiid were able to keep the Sixers in the game while the Heat found a groove from distance in the first half. The only negatives for Harden in this one were some bad turnovers when he forced some passes and he wasn’t great defensively. Overall, though, it was a solid night.
De’Anthony Melton: C
The night started off well for Melton when he knocked down his first triple of the night, but he then missed his next couple of triples when he was wide-open. He, like the rest of the Sixers, got caught up on the defensive end as Miami was whipping the ball around and finding open shooters. Overall, it wasn’t the greatest night for the man they call Mr. Do Something.
Tobias Harris: D
The first half was rough for Harris. He only took one shot, which he missed, and he committed two fouls, one of which was offensive. He was solid on the defensive end which is something he could take solace in. He finally got a bucket in the third quarter, but he was mostly invisible all night in this one.
PJ Tucker: A
Once again, Tucker was a pest for the opposition. He was all over the place on the defensive end as he went from having to defend Butler to being matched up on Gabe Vincent, Tyler Herro, and others. This one was another example of what he brings to the table and why he’ll be so valuable come playoff time. He also knocked down his corner triples, which is what Philadelphia expects from him on the defensive end.
Joel Embiid: A
The battles between Embiid and Bam Adebayo are always fun to watch. The two All-Stars were locking arms and battling in the paint all night long, but Embiid got the better of Adebayo in this one. The big fella was once again efficient with his shot as he was able to get into a rhythm early. He was able to get to the basket and there wasn’t much the Heat could do to stop him. He had a few bad turnovers as he was lazy with the ball and his passes and he did get into foul trouble, but he was once again spectacular.
Tyrese Maxey: A-
The first run for Maxey brought a mixed bag. He had two tough misses that he normally makes, but he also made a tough leaning triple while trying to draw a foul. He had the usual issues on the defensive end as well as he picked up a couple of cheap fouls. Everything changed in the third quarter as he finally found his rhythm again. He scored 14 points in the third and he was able to get some tough shots to fall. He needed a minute at the end of the third when he landed on Victor Oladipo’s ankle on a step-back triple and he was grabbing at his ankle, but he remained in the game.
Georges Niang: D-
The initial run for Niang already brought more production than what he did in the loss on Saturday as he was able to get a tough bucket to go on a drive. Defensively, he wasn’t great. He had a tough time with Kevin Love as the Miami big man was getting into the paint from the perimeter. In the second half, he wasn’t able to make any of his open triples and the Sixers suffered from that.
Jalen McDaniels: B+
The defensive instincts McDaniels possesses are so impressive. He bothered Oladipo into a turnover and he was able to make a few recovery plays on defense. There is so much that he brings to the table on that end and it also helps that he brings a lot of athleticism as well. his length and athleticism bother opponents on the defensive end.
Paul Reed: C+
The run from Reed wasn’t bad, but not great. He had a few moments that were just a bit head-scratching, but he was able to be active around the offensive glass. He wasn’t great defensively, but the Sixers were able to survive a bit with Embiid on the bench.
Shake Milton: C+
After playing only two minutes against the Celtics, Milton got some early runs in the first quarter. He had some tough moments on defense, but he was able to get a bucket in the initial stint out on the floor. Milton is an important piece on the offensive end for this bench unit.