After two hard-fought games in Miami, the Philadelphia 76ers found themselves back on their home floor. Being down 0-2, they needed to do everything in their power to keep the series and their playoff hopes alive.
Along with playing in front of their fans, the Sixers had another big reason to be reinvigorated. Joel Embiid made his triumphant return in Game 3 after being cleared from concussion protocol. The All-Star center had to bring back his iconic facemask look but was willing to do whatever it took to get back on the floor with his teammates.
Embiid might have been the biggest story, but it was breakout star Tyrese Maxey who stole the show. He started slow out of the gates but came alive in the second half to help lead the Sixers to victory. The second-year guard posted a team-high 21 points on stellar 7-for-11 shooting from the field. Maxey also stepped out and canned five of his six attempts from beyond the arc.
As this scoring barrage unfolded, Sixers’ fans rushed to social media to show their appreciation for the 21-year-old.
Danny Green Comes Alive From Deep
With their backs against the wall, the Sixers needed a group effort to get a win on their home floor. Understanding how important this game was, Danny Green did all he could to provide a lift.
Three-point shooting has been a weak point for the Sixers in this series, but their fortunes turned around in Game 3. Green’s seven made threes not only matched his career-high in the playoffs but equaled the Heat’s output from deep as well. The three-time champion tied Maxey as the team’s leading scorer with 21 points.
It goes without saying how important it is for the Sixers’ shooters to find a groove. With Embiid back in the lineup, the Heat are going to send multiple defenders at him regularly. If they are able to capitalize on the open threes it creates, they will be forced to guard the All-Star center straight up.
Sixers Are Down, But Not Out
The Sixers might find themselves down in the series, but things are far from over. Seeing how Embiid was able to return and play big minutes, they are in a position to claw their way back. If they can take care of business of Game 4, then it just comes down to a best of three.
One person who feels good about the Sixers’ chances is Embiid himself. The MVP finalist also took to Twitter to interact with the fans. He posted a meme from ‘The Wire’ to let the world know the Sixers are “back up.”
Outside of some small stretches from Miami, the Sixers controlled Game 3. Proving they are more than capable of beating the Heat. Along with getting their best player back, they made the necessary adjustments to slow down Miami on both ends.
This was a crucial win for the Sixers, and they cannot waste the momentum they’ve built. Coming away victorious in Game 4 is essential. If they can head back to Miami with the series 2-2, then it’s anybody’s game. As expected, Embiid’s return might save the Sixers’ season.