All Heat fans wanted was Miami to win one of the first two games in Philadelphia, and give the Heat a chance in the series. A game two victory accomplished that, and fans really thought that this series was going to go to Miami.
Then, Thursday night in the Triple A, it was as if the Miami Heat and its fanbase got punched in the stomach. A 128-108 loss to the 76ers, now trailing in the series 2-1, tonight couldn’t have gone worse.
There, right in the middle of the embarrassment that was the Heat tonight, is their 7-foot center, their franchise player, Hassan Whiteside, with yet another disappointing, almost let-down of a performance.
Whiteside, had been criticized for his performance in the first two games in Philly, where he scored a grand total of 6 points, was again missing in Miami for game 3. On Thursday night, Whiteside was on the court just 13 minutes, scoring 5 points and pulling down two rebounds.
Now of course, the loss can’t be pinned on just one player. After all, Miami was able to pull off the upset in game 2, even with Hassan’s struggles. Unlike Monday night, there was no Dwyane Wade magic on Thursday, going just 2-for-10 from the field.
The final score presents a game that was a blowout, though it didn’t seem like that in the slightest. The first three quarters, the game was neck-and-neck, with teams trading leads, and tensions flying high. In the second quarter, 76ers Justin Anderson and Wade got into it underneath the basket, resulting in a double-technical.
Trailing by just two after three quarters of basketball, you honestly felt as if Miami was going to pull it out. In the two years that have passed since the Heat have hosted a playoff game, you forget that some of the magic during the Big 3 era is gone, completely.
Though, it just seemed like it was going to happen. Then, in a blink of an eye, it was over, Philly was up 15.
And what a perfect night to defeat Philly too. Joel Embiid was out there looking like Batman, and yet he scored 23 points. In the defensive hellish nightmare that was game one for Miami, when the Sixers hit 18-three-pointers, they matched that number again on Thursday.
But man it almost felt like the good ole days, with the all the fouls and shoving, and face-to-face action. It reminded you of the playoffs several years ago when Miami would play the Pacers or the Bulls. Or for you elderly Heat fans, the epic battles with the Knicks in the 90’s.
The only difference between that Miami team four-five years ago, and now? LeBron would go off for 35 points, and the Heat would advance no problem. Now, we’re going crazy when Justise Winslow scores 19 points.
Now of course the series isn’t over, game four will be Saturday afternoon, where Miami will desperately try to even up the series, before heading back to the Wells Fargo Center.
But right now, as Heat Nation tries to re-coop, that 2-1 deficit looks like a mountain.