Despite a spectacular effort by Jimmy Butler, Miami was unable to complete the comeback
PJ Tucker was the first one on the board in Game 4, with the Heat starting aggressive after an impotent Game 3 performance. The Heat looked goof from three with Tucker and Strus all delivering early, but Philly kept pace with the Heat thanks to some strong interior play by Embiid. Miami struggled to guard Embiid who had 8 points in the first five minutes. Spo went to Oladipo earlier than usual, who had an immediate impact played aggressively, and found creative ways to get to the free-throw line. Miami spent a lot of time at the free-throw line going 8/10, but would spend the last minute and a half of the first going back and forth with Philly, but would go into the second quarter down two.
The back and forth affair continued into the start of the second quarter, with Herro, Bam, and Jimmy all getting on the board well. Miami just didn’t have any answers for Philly on the other end failing to get stops often and keeping things a little too close. Bam was a lot more aggressive tonight, showing impressive footwork and attacking relentlessly whenever Embiid was on the bench. Danny Green continued to be his 2013 Finals self giving all of us PTSD as Philly stole back the lead halfway through the quarter. James Harden also showed flashes of his MVP self as Philly extended their lead to seven. Miami really didn’t seem to have a rhythm, panicking at times, thankfully Jimmy was forced to take over on offense shooting well in the mid-range and forcing himself to the free-throw line. The Heat would go into the second half down eight.
Jimmy continued to score in creative ways to start the third, but Tyrese Maxey extended the Philly lead once again. It didn’t help that Embiid continued to ball out for Philly, causing Bam to get his 4th foul. Once again it was on Jimmy to bring things back and he did, hitting some very well-timed three-point shots. Miami finally found its rhythm pulling itself within four off some phenomenal Jimmy play and key buckets by Lowry and Oladipo. There were a lot of questionable foul calls on Miami that caused trouble for the Heat putting Tucker and others in foul trouble. Morris saw minutes, as Miami once again clawed it’s way back to within four thanks to a solid Gabe Vincent bucket. Miami would get within four to end the third quarter.
Tobias Harris scoring a big three to open the fourth was not ideal, and the fact that Miami couldn’t hit shots all of a sudden well that also wasn’t great. Ten straight points for Philly? Yeah, definitely not the best thing that could happen. Jimmy scored Miami’s first points of the quarter at the 8:57 mark. The Heat would fight back to bring it back to a nine-point deficit thanks to Oladipo and follow that up with a big Bam dunk. Jimmy and Bam attempted to try and will the Heat to a win, converting on some very difficult looks but James Harden just kept hitting shots keeping things out of reach. The Heat played elite defense in the final stretch but missed rebounds and poor shot selection on offense is what ultimately cost them. This is a brand new series, Spo and the rest of the team has their work cut out for them. It’s not going to be easy. The Heat will get another chance on Tuesday.