How much did each NBA conference semifinal change heading into Game 3?
In the Boston Celtics vs. Milwaukee Bucks and Memphis Grizzlies vs. Saturday’s Golden State Warriors, a lot. But in the series Miami Heat vs. Philadelphia 76ers and Phoenix Suns vs. Dallas Mavericks on Friday seems to be more of the same.
Miami continued to take advantage of injuries in Philadelphia with another double-digit win. While the Sixth Man of the Year Tyler Herro powered the Heat in Game 1, the duo of Jimmy Butler Y Bam Adebayo paced Miami with a combined 45 points, 15 rebounds and 15 assists in Game 2.
After Thursday’s day off, what’s next in Game 3? Our NBA experts break down what lies ahead in each second-round matchup on Friday.
Suns 2, Mavericks 0: Why the fourth quarter belongs to Phoenix
Phoenix defeated Dallas 129-109 and went ahead 2-0 in the NBA Playoffs series. Booker with 30 and Paul with 28 were decisive for the winner. Doncic, very alone, added 35 points.
A constant refrain heard from Phoenix Suns players after their Game 1 win over the Dallas Mavericks was how they took their foot off the gas in the fourth quarter, allowing the Mavs to cut a 21-point deficit from the Suns to five in the final minute, and how they needed to correct that as the series progresses.
And they responded big in the fourth quarter of their 129-109 Game 2 win to take a 2-0 lead in the Western Conference semifinals. The Suns unleashed a dominant offensive attack in the fourth quarter on Wednesday, outscoring the Mavericks 40-26 and shooting 16-of-19 (84.2%) from the field, the second-best offense of any team in a fourth quarter of a playoff game. in the past 25 seasons, according to ESPN Stats & Information. The only team that performed better? The San Antonio Spurs in the 2014 NBA Finals, a team remembered for giving one of the best clinics in history en route to the fifth title of Tim Duncan’s brilliant career.
Chris-Paul he is still looking for his number 1 ring and is doing everything in his power to get it. He shot 6-for-7 in the fourth quarter of Game 2, scoring 14 of his 28 points in the final frame. It was the fourth time this postseason that he had 10 or more points in the NBA-leading fourth quarter heading into Game 3 on Friday. (9:30 p.m. ESPN Sports).
“It’s fun. I love it,” Paul said onstage in the fourth quarter. “The end of games is exciting for the fans. And as players, I think you always have to work hard to win.”
— Dave McMenamin
Heat 2, 76ers 0: Why Tyler Herro is the sixth man Miami deserves
The Best Sixth Man in the NBA has matured and assumes responsibilities in Miami.
Butler has always pointed out that in addition to the skill that the 22-year-old shooter possesses, he appreciates how hard Herro works every day.
So for Butler, who has called out younger teammates in the past for what he perceived as a consistent lack of effort, it was no surprise that Herro not only won Sixth Man of the Year, but also had other 18 points in Wednesday’s win over the Sixers.
“It’s about time he got the recognition he deserves,” Butler said after Game 2, “and it’s going to be a big reason we end up winning it. [el campeonato] this year”.
Having Herro play at this level only strengthens an already confident group. His ability to stretch the floor and create space for Butler and Adebayo to operate gives the Heat the kind of weapon they’ll need to finish this series, especially with the threat that Joel Embid come back for Game 3 or 4.
With the way that Herro and the veteran Victor Oladipowho added 19 points in Game 2, are playing off the bench, there’s a reason the Heat feel so good heading into Game 3 in Philadelphia (7 p.m. ET, ESPN Sports).
“[Herro] he’s one of the young stars in this league,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said before Game 2. “He’s been able to quiet all the noise and just sacrifice and do what we feel is best for the group. It really translated into success and winning. That’s what it’s about. That’s what Tyler is about.”
If Herro keeps making the same plays so far, he’ll create something else for himself as well as another prize: He’ll get a mega contract extension this summer that will ensure a long future in Miami.
— Nick Friedell
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What’s next for the Heat-76ers and Suns-Mavericks before Game 3?