The start to the unofficial-second-half of the season hasn’t gone well for the Miami Heat. Since the All-Star break, Miami has lost three of four, including Wednesday’s blowout loss to the Joel Embiid-less Philadelphia 76ers.
Philadelphia controlled the March 1 matchup for the majority of the night. They took the lead early in the second quarter and never looked back, eventually blowing out the Heat 119-96.
Bam Adebayo, Miami’s lone All-Star this season, sat down with the media after the embarrassing defeat.
Adebayo didn’t mince words when discussing the loss to the Sixers. He called out his team’s mental lapse and weak defense against Philly.
“We have too many mental lapses in the middle of the game,” Adebayo told reporters via Bally Sports Sun: Heat. “Guys leaving guys open, it was really on the other end tonight. We didn’t get any stops. That’s what hurt us the whole game. We were getting what we wanted on offense, we just couldn’t get any stops.”
He was then asked if he felt his team had made gains towards being able to attack switching defenses at a higher level. Adebayo explained that Miami has a lot of work to do in that category, before pivoting to the Heat needing to ramp things up overall.
“We still have a long ways to go, as you can see, when it comes to teams who switch. We just have to buy in and really figure it out. It’s the second half of the season and we need to start gearing up for something bigger ahead of us.”
Wednesday’s loss brought Miami’s record to 33-30 on the season, which has them sitting in seventh place in the Eastern Conference.
James Harden Discusses Tough Loss to Heat
Just two days prior, Miami had taken down Philly in a tightly contested game. The Heat snuck away with a 101-99 victory, after James Harden narrowly missed a game-winner for the Sixers.
Miami’s defense was the driving force behind their win in Philly, forcing the 76ers to commit 18 turnovers on the night.
Harden, who tallied four by himself, shared what he thought the Heat did to throw his team off of their game.
“Some of it was us,” Harden said via Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer. “Some of it was them. They were aggressive the entire night, and did a good job of pressuring the basketball, and forcing some of them. And some of them were just careless.”
Heat’s Jimmy Butler Sounds Off on Ex-Teammate P.J. Tucker
The Heat’s home-and-home series against the 76ers saw them matchup against a key piece of last season’s Eastern Conference Finals team, P.J. Tucker.
Tucker left Miami for Philly in the summer, but Jimmy Butler still has love for his former teammate.
“He guards incredibly well until he gotta matchup against me,” Butler said after Monday’s win. “But no, I really respect PJ because he always does what you ask him to do. We left him in the corner twice and he knocked them down both times. He’s playing in the passing lane, he’s diving on the floor, he’s a hell of a leader, he’s honest and you can count on him night in and night out to show up and do what you ask him to do.”
He later added that he and his Heat teammates missing having Tucker around.
“I miss him. We miss them here, but they got a good one.”