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Basketball Daily Dose

Miami and Phoenix win comfortably to take 2-0 leads at home Wednesday

by Aaron Robinson
Updated On: May 5, 2022, 12:10 pm ET

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Wednesday’s night slate featured Game 2’s between the Sixers and Heat in the east, and the Suns and the Mavericks in the west. The Sixers were without Joel Embiid for the second-straight game, and according to an update on the broadcast by Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports, Embiid is making progress in his recovery. According to Haynes, Tuesday was the first day that Embiid could use his cell phone since being diagnosed with a concussion, due to the sensitivity to light that comes with a concussion. The plan is to re-evaluate the big fella upon their return to Philadelphia and to go from there. 

This wasn’t the only injury update we got on Wednesday, as Shams Charania reported that an MRI revealed that Gary Payton II also has some ligament damage along with the fracture in his left elbow. He will miss at least three weeks, but he has not ruled out a return for the NBA Finals, should the Warriors make it that far. After Tuesday’s loss in Game 2 to Memphis, Warriors head coach Steve Kerr also said that he hopes to get Andre Iguodala (neck) back in the lineup for Game 3. Golden State has a few days to get guys some rest and treatment before the series shifts to the Bay on Saturday, so we will have to see how Iguodala progresses over the next few days. 

Lastly, the Nets announced that Ben Simmons will undergo a “microdiscectomy procedure” on Thursday to “alleviate pain caused by the herniated disc” in his back. Simmons is expected to miss 3-4 months to make a full recovery, but he should be ready to return well ahead of training camp, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. Simmons should be an early-round pick in next year’s drafts as long as everything checks out with his recovery. We’ll have updates throughout the offseason, so be sure to check in with us as they come in. Now let’s head into Tuesday’s action on the hardwood!

Heat take 2-0 lead on Sixers with 119-103 win Wednesday night.

As previously stated, the Sixers were without Joel Embiid for the second game in a row in this one, and yet again they were not able to come out on top. The Heat used a balanced attack offensively and some great perimeter defense to get another comfortable win over the Sixers. In Game 1, the Heat held the Sixers to 17.6% shooting from the three-point line and they put together another masterful performance in Game 2, holding the Sixers to 8-30 from the three-point line for 26.7%. They also had a very balanced offensive attack with four players scoring between 18 and 23 points.

Bam Adebayo led the way, scoring 23 points on 7-of-11 shooting (9-of-11 free throws) to go with nine rebounds, three assists, one steal, and one turnover in 33 minutes. Jimmy Butler added 22 points on 8-of-15 shooting (5-of-7 free throws) while dishing out 12 assists with six rebounds, two steals, and one triple. The Heat also have the luxury of having the Sixth Man of the Year in the NBA this season in Tyler Herro along with a former All-Star in Victor Oladipo both in their second unit. Oladipo is in the midst of a resurgence after playing just 12 regular-season games over the last two seasons, yet he has been a key cog in the Heat’s playoff rotation. He scored 19 points on 6-of-11 shooting (3-of-4 3-pointers) to go with six rebounds, one assist, and four turnovers in 29 minutes. Herro was presented with the Sixth Man of the Year award before tip-off, and he followed it up with a solid performance. The former Kentucky Wildcat went for 18 points on 6-of-10 shooting (3-of-5 3-pointers) and added seven rebounds, three assists, and one block in the win. An interesting development has been the disappearance of Duncan Robinson from the Heat rotation. The sharpshooter logged a DNP in Monday’s Game 1 and played just one minute in Wednesday’s Game 2. The Heat haven’t missed a beat without him thus far, and with Oladipo playing the way he has, there is no reason to believe that he won’t continue to be a huge part of the Miami rotation. 

On the flip side, for Philadelphia, it was almost an identical script to their Game 1 loss. Things were interesting for a while before Miami separated themselves in the second half. A few guys in blue had some decent performances, but all in all there just weren’t enough made shots to go around, and the Sixers found themselves in an 0-2 hole after two games in Miami. Tyrese Maxey had the hot hand in this one, scoring 34 points on 12-of-22 shooting (1-of-4 3-pointers) to go with three rebounds, one assist, two steals, and no turnovers in 43 minutes. He was 9-of-11 from the free-throw line, with the nine makes being his highest total from the stripe during this postseason. James Harden scored 20 points on 6-of-15 shooting (7-of-7 free throws) and dished out nine assists to go with four rebounds, one block, and one triple in 41 minutes. Tobias Harris chipped in 21 on 9-of-17 shooting (2-of-5 3-pointers) with four rebounds, four assists, and four steals. The Sixers will head back to Philadelphia, where they will need to get a win in Game 3 to avoid falling into the daunting 3-0 hole. There is a chance that Joel Embiid could be available, but it will depend on how he progresses through the next 24-36 hours.

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Luka Doncic’s 35 not enough in Game 2 loss to Phoenix 

Similar to the game detailed above, Game 2 of this series was eerily similar to Monday’s Game 1. Luka Doncic had a huge night for Dallas, but nobody else really showed up to the party and the Mavericks left Phoenix with a loss. Now the margin of victory was a lot larger for Phoenix in this one, but that was due to a huge fourth quarter that saw the Suns outscore the Mavericks 40-26 to pull away for a 129-109 victory. Phoenix shot 84.2% in the fourth quarter of this one, which was the second-highest fourth-quarter field goal percentage over the last 25 postseasons, trailing only San Antonio, who shot 87.5% from the floor in Game 1 of the 2014 NBA Finals. They also shot 64.5% from the floor for the game, which set a new postseason franchise record in Phoenix. Chris Paul was outstanding on Wednesday night, scoring 28 points, including 14 in the fourth quarter, to go with eight assists, six rebounds, one steal, and three turnovers in 36 minutes. His partner in crime, Devin Booker poured in 30 points on 11-of-19 shooting (5-of-8 3-pointers) to go with four rebounds, four assists, and one block with two turnovers in 36 minutes. Booker looks like the hamstring strain is completely in the rearview mirror, and he was even seen mouthing the words “I’m back” following Wednesday’s win.

For Dallas, there are some positives that you can draw from this loss. They led 60-58 at the half and were going blow for blow with Phoenix up until that historically great fourth-quarter performance. They will now head back to Texas, but they will have to get some contributions from someone not named Luka Doncic. The Slovenian guard put up 35 points on 13-of-22 shooting (5-of-10 3-pointers) to go with seven assists, five rebounds, one steal, and seven turnovers in the loss. This marked his 12th playoff game with at least 30 points, which ties him with Kareem Abdul-Jabbar for the fourth-most by a player before turning 24. LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, and Kevin Durant are the only players with more such games. After the game, Mavericks head coach Jason Kidd did not cut cards about the need for someone else to offer some assistance to their All-NBA guard. “(Luka) had a great game, but no one else showed… we can’t win with just him out there scoring 30 a night, not this time of year, and we’re playing the best team in the league.” 

After a huge first round against the Jazz where he averaged 27.8 points per game with 4.8 rebounds and 4.2 assists per game, Jalen Brunson has been a non-factor in this one, averaging just 11.0 points per game on 31.3% shooting from the floor (16.7% from three) to go with 4.5 rebounds, and 2.5 assists through two games. Spencer Dinwiddie has also seen a drop in his production, going from 15.3 points per game in the first round, to just 9.5 points through two games in Phoenix. Dallas will need to get more out of these two species if they are going to have any chance to make this series interesting, otherwise, the Mavericks could be packing their bags for vacation sooner rather than later. 

There are no games taking place on Thursday, but we will get these same four teams squaring off on Friday, as the Mavericks and the Sixers will both look to get on the board in their respective series. Stay with us for updates, specifically on Joel Embiid as we get closer to tip-off on Friday night in Philadelphia.

Aaron Robinson

Aaron Robinson is a sports journalist who played Division 1 basketball at Quinnipiac and Coppin State University and is a native of Takoma Park, MD. You can follow Aaron on Twitter @AceRobinson_