Jimmy Butler knocked out Joel Embiid from the playoffs, then walked in for a hug and a message to his former 76ers teammate.
“‘I am happy with him. I really like him,'” Butler instructed Embiid. “Sure, sure, sure, I might nonetheless wish to be on his workforce. I nonetheless love the Miami Warmth. I am blissful to be right here.”
Another journey to the convention finals forward, the Warmth are blissful to have it.
Butler scored 32 factors and mentioned “goodbye” to the Philly crowd as he beat Philadelphia 99-90 on Thursday evening to ship Miami to the Japanese Convention finals in Recreation 6.
The Warmth will play the winner of the Milwaukee-Boston franchise. The reigning champions Bucks lead the sequence 3-2 with Recreation 6 performed in Milwaukee on Friday evening.
The Warmth superior to the convention finals for the second time in three seasons, once more led by Butler. Philly followers – and lots of inside the 76ers group – nonetheless cannot consider the franchise has let Butler escape after the 2019 season. He did not mess up, scoring 14 factors on a 6/9 taking pictures within the third quarter because the Warmth used a 16-2 streak to take management. Butler scored 33 factors in Recreation 3 and 40 factors in Recreation 4.
“I believe he is one of many greatest opponents within the occupation,” mentioned coach Erik Spoelstra. “He was nice all through the entire sequence. The challenges get even more durable right here. He noticed a chance to complete this tonight, and he wasn’t going to let it get to seven.”
NBA scoring champion Embiid scored 20 factors from 7 on 24 taking pictures.
With a 35-point win in Recreation 5, the Warmth weathered a battered Sixers workforce. Embiid regarded fueled as he eagerly tried to hold the Sixers. He had little or no carry, and a pull-up jumper was blocked by Bam Adebayo in third place.
The Sixers left Butler largely as a result of they selected Ben Simmons to switch him. Simmons was sad and needed to commerce to Brooklyn for James Harden this season. Three-time prime scorer Harden wanted to shoulder Embiid’s burden for a robust post-season transfer. Harden as a substitute disappeared utterly within the playoffs. He had a fantastic Recreation 4 at dwelling in opposition to Miami however apart from that he was a turnover machine. The Sixers had been booed off-court when the Warmth misplaced a bucket and one other 80-63 lead within the fourth spherical.
“We tried to do it instantly,” Harden mentioned. “We’re just a bit brief.”
Harden scored all 11 factors within the first half. He had 4 turnovers and 4 baskets. With $47.4 million in participant choices for 2022-23, Harden missed each pictures within the second half and recorded his last basket at 3:31 of the second quarter.
Few individuals in Philly may give The Beard a passing grade. Harden mentioned he’ll be again subsequent season.
Coach Doc Rivers begged his workforce to “struggle for it”. within the group within the fourth row. The 76ers simply dropped.
“On the finish of this recreation, I got here to the conclusion that we weren’t ok to beat Miami,” Rivers mentioned.
Rivers has signed off into the 2024-25 season and one other early exit – the 76ers had been #1 final yr and misplaced within the second spherical – and his job scenario is a sizzling subject of dialog.
“I am not fearful about my job. I believe I’ve carried out a fantastic job. In case you do not, then it’s best to write it,” Rivers mentioned. “As a result of I labored so onerous to get this workforce right here. After I first got here right here, nobody selected us anyplace. Similar factor once more this yr. In case you suppose so, write. I’ll really feel protected about it.”
Max Strus had 20 factors and 11 rebounds for the Warmth. Even one other awful evening at three-point distance – Miami missed 21 of 28 tries – it did not matter.
After being cleared to return from a concussion final week, Embiid was nauseous once more in a postseason recreation with torn ligaments in his masks (proper orbital fracture) and proper thumb. He grabbed the again of his head after hitting the sector after a fall late within the second quarter. Embiid nonetheless performed 22 minutes within the first half and scored 14 factors.
Embiid missed the primary two video games of the sequence as he recovered from the concussion. The Sixers misplaced each video games in Miami. Would a wholesome Embiid make a distinction? Perhaps not, however one other sudden finish for the All-Star who has but to style a convention last.
Phoenix Suns 86-113 Dallas Mavericks
Luka Doncic scored 33 factors and the Dallas Mavericks beat the Phoenix Suns 113-86 on Thursday evening, pushing Recreation 7 of the Western Convention semifinals.
The house workforce gained all six video games, none nearer than seven factors by a last lead. The decisive recreation is Sunday in Phoenix.
The Mavericks gained their first-ever elimination in three tries with their three-time All-Star Doncic.
Two losses have come in opposition to the Clippers previously two seasons; this included Recreation 7 in Los Angeles final yr after the guests gained the primary six video games in a playoff first. Dallas is taking part in past the primary spherical for the primary time since profitable the title 11 years in the past.
Trying to make a second journey in a row to the Western finals, the Suns are making their manner in a sequence for the primary time in two seasons with Chris Paul and Devin Booker. The earlier three factors had been as much as six, together with Phoenix’s loss to Milwaukee within the NBA finals final yr.
Booker scored 19 factors however had 6 factors within the 3-point vary (0/4) and 17/17. Deandre Ayton had 21 factors and 11 rebounds, and Paul added 13 factors.
One of the best-seeded Suns had been held in a off-season by scoring, common season or playoffs for the second time within the sequence.