The Miami Heat have advanced to the NBA Eastern Conference Finals with a 99-90 win in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Semis. It will be the second trip to the Conference Finals in three years for the Heat. For the Sixers, it is another trip back to the drawing board. Another year of trying to figure out what went so wrong. It will also be another year for the likes of Joel Embiid and James Harden to figure out what they have to do to make it to the Finals.
For the Heat, it was all about Jimmy Buckets as Butler was pretty much in control all night scoring a game-high 32 points adding eight rebounds and four assists. As the game clocked ticked away the final minutes of the Philly season, Butler waved bye to the fans in Philly where he once played. “Now I’m where I belong,” Butler said. “Guess where I should have been a long time ago.” The Heat will await the winner of the Milwaukee Bucks-Boston Celtics series that continues tonight with the Bucks leading three games to two. Butler made his feelings known after the game:
“Tobias Harris over me?” Damn Jimmy Butler 🤣🤣🤣 pic.twitter.com/Avvkjpglsq
— Kevin O'Connor (@KevinOConnorNBA) May 13, 2022
Butler scored 14 points in the Heat’s 25-14 third quarter that saw them take control after a 16-2 run. He would average 27.2 points over the six games. The Sixers and their fans are still not over the fact that the team let Butler go. Alongside Embiid and Ben Simmons, it looked like Philly could contend for years to come. As for how Embiid feels about Butler being let go he said, “I still don’t know how we let him go,” Embiid said. “I wish I could have gone to battle with him still.”
As for the Sixers, it is yet to be determined if Doc Rivers will return either by being let go, quitting, or retiring. His hopes of taking this team to a championship ran into roadblocks and the hardest one was losing Embiid to injury during the season and in the playoffs. Missing the first two games in this series put Philly in a hole they could not get out of even though they ties the series after Game 4. Embiid is a perennial All-Star and MVP candidate but has yet to find a cast of teammates that can help him get to the promised land.
This year, the Sixers made the trade that sent Ben Simmons to Brooklyn in exchange for Harden. On paper, a sure one-two punch for a deep playoff run. But Harden has been battling demons of his own. His penchant for strip clubs during a time he should focus on the game has hurt his career. His inability to take his role seriously enough, to understand that he can be great, more than enough to carry a team, has hampered him as well as the team he has been on. His tendency to be out of shape and take plays off has not helped him as well. But there is not much doubt that he will be back in Philly to see if he can help the team and Embiid capture that elusive ring. He started Gane 6 off with a bang but went ice cold the rest of the way.
Tobias Harris let it be known how he felt after the game. Check out this tweet that tells the story in his mind from Sixers beat reporter Gina Mizell:
A candid Tobias Harris on what the Sixers still need to be a contender: “Mental toughness.”
“That part of it I don’t think we have that … at times, for our group, too many things just affected us as a whole. We drop our heeds too much. Our body language at times is crappy.”
— Gina Mizell (@ginamizell) May 13, 2022