MIAMI – – Tyler Herro had spent the last few days dealing with a bug in his upper respiratory tract that disrupted his routine. So he arrived at the Miami arena early Monday morning, 10 hours before playtime, to get some shots up and restore his rhythm.
And the Heat first struck out against the shorthanded Philadelphia 76ers.
Herro scored 25 points – the second most he had ever had in a playoff game – while Bam Adebayo finished with 24 points and 12 rebounds, and the top-seeded Heat ran away in the second half to beat the fourth-seeded 76ers 106 -92 in game 1 in their semifinals of the Eastern Conference.
Herro was 4 for 6 from 3-point range; everyone else in the game shot a total of 11 for 64 from deep.
“He’s a worker,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. “He is relentless.”
The 76ers were without Joel Embiid, the MVP finalist who is not even in Miami while recovering from an orbital fracture and concussion – injuries sustained in Philadelphia’s first round victory in Toronto. He is not expected to play in Game 2.
And as expected, he was missed. Except for Adebayo, who missed almost nothing. He was 8 for 10 from the floor, 8 for 8 from the line.
“I feel like I was just making plays,” Adebayo said.
Jimmy Butler added 15 points to the top-seeded Heat, who got 10 from Gabe Vincent and PJ Tucker.
Tobias Harris scored 27 points for Philadelphia, which got 19 from Tyrese Maxey and 16 points, nine rebounds and five assists from James Harden.
Match 2 is Wednesday in Miami.
“I did not like how we moved the ball,” 76ers coach Doc Rivers said. “I thought we passed late tonight. I thought the physical affected us tonight and it had an impact. There were too many times we wanted to take the extra dribble ride and when we passed it, they arrived. “
Miami came out as aggressive as possible, putting Tucker on the Harden and getting him to protect him a full 94 feet off the floor in a similar approach to what the Heat used against Atlanta’s Trae Young in the first round series.
“Do my job,” Tucker said.
It worked – for a while. Miami led by as many as 12 in the opening quarter, after which a 10-2 run with eight points from Herro gave the Heat a 13-point edge at 37-24 to mark their biggest in the half. The margin was still 46-36 midway through the second after yet another Herro basket.
The rest of the half was entirely Philly. And that was the 76s takeaway from the night.
“It can be done. It can be done,” Maxey said. “It’s not completely out of reach.”
Miami went 1 for 9 off the field during the final 6 minutes of the half, with four turnovers there as well, and Philadelphia went on a 15-4 sprint. Harden’s shot on the field with 28 seconds left brought the 76ers up 51-50, their first lead of the night and the score they took into the locker room.
The 76ers scored the first four points of the second half and increased by five. It was as good as it got for the 76s.
“I liked how we fought back,” Rivers said. “I liked how we came out at the beginning of the third quarter … and then I did not like the rest of the game from that point on.”
Adebayo took a ball pass from Tucker for a dunk that brought Miami up 62-61 and it would be the night’s final lead change. It was the start of a 10-0 run that built a cushion and then a 13-2 run early in the fourth settled question and pushed the Heat edge out to 98-77.
“It’s the playoffs,” Adebayo said. “First to four.”
76ers: Philadelphia dropped to 6-9 without Embiid this season. … DeAndre Jordan started instead of Embiid and had four points and two rebounds in 17 minutes. … Georges Niang was 0 for 7, all the shots from 3-point range.
Heat: Kyle Lowry (hoarding) missed his third game in a row. … Backup center Dewayne Dedmon made three errors in 23 seconds of the first quarter. He then had two more in a 1:46 span of the third, giving him five fouls in 4:14 playing time.
The teams combined to shoot 15 for 70 in the first half from the 3-point range – 6 for 34 of the 76ers, a slightly better 9 for 36 of the Heat. Philadelphia’s 17.6% rate from beyond the arc was the second worst of the season. The only worse game of the 76ers was a game of 17.1%, also in Miami.
Heat guard Duncan Robinson, who led Miami in the games game for a third regular season in a row, did not show up in Game 1. It is the first time since April 2019 that he dressed but did not play, finishing a streak of 256 matches including playoffs. He missed three games this season while on Miami’s inactive list.
Match 2 is Wednesday in Miami.