Miami Heat marched into the NBA Eastern Conference finals after beating the Philadelphia 76ers 99-90 in the semi-final with Jimmy Butler scoring 32 points on Thursday.
The Heat will touch the conference finals floor for the second time in three seasons, while the Sixers swallowed the home loss witnessing James Harden and Joel Embiid’s terrible performance.
Despite starting forward Danny Green exiting in the first quarter due to a bad-looking left knee injury, the Sixers managed to deliver a tight first half as they only fell one point behind at halftime.
Coming back from the locker room, the Heat took immediate control of the game. Butler scored 14 points in the third quarter and led the Heat with a 19-4 run. The Sixers struggled to narrow the gap to 11 points before the fourth quarter thanks to Shake Milton and Tobias Harris’ tough fadeaway jumpers.
The Heat kept the hot hands at the beginning of the last 12 minutes to enlarge the gap to 20. In the crucial moment, Gabe Vincent’s 3-pointer and Butler’s layup resisted the Sixers’ late comeback, helping the Heat seal the victory.
Butler led with 32 points, Max Strus added 20 points and 11 rebounds for the Heat.
On the Sixers’ side, Embiid had 20 points from 24 shooting attempts, and Harden’s bleak 11 points were all from the first half.
In the Western Conference, the Dallas Mavericks routed the Phoenix Suns 113-86 by taking advantage of the Suns’ 22 turnovers, dragging the series into a tiebreaker.
The Mavericks’ star guard Luka Doncic scored 33 points and grabbed 11 rebounds, and Reggie Bullock and Jalen Brunson added 19 and 18 respectively.
Devin Booker contributed 19 points to the Suns but also had eight turnovers. Deandre Ayton had 21 points and 11 rebounds, and Chris Paul added 13 points.- Advertisement -