Jimmy Butler leads Heat romp of 76ers to take 3-2 series lead

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For three quarters, the Miami Heat controlled Tuesday's Game 5 against the Philadelphia 76ers.

In the fourth quarter, they poured it on en route to a 120-85 romp to take a 3-2 series lead in the Eastern Conference semifinals.

In stark contrast to a pair of 76ers wins in Philadelphia alongside the return of Joel Embiid, the Heat were dominant at home en route to an 81-66 lead through three quarters. They left no doubt about the game's outcome with a 7-0 run to start the fourth that prompted Doc Rivers to call a timeout a minute into the stanza.

Miami Heat forward Jimmy Butler (22) celebrates after scoring during the first half of Game 5 of an NBA basketball second-round playoff series against the Philadelphia 76ers, Tuesday, May 10, 2022, in Miami. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)
Jimmy Butler and the Heat made easy work of Philadelphia on Tuesday. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

Miami scored five straight on the other side of the timeout to extend its lead to 93-66. From that point, it didn't take much time for both teams to empty their benches. Jimmy Butler led the way with 23 points, nine rebounds and six assists as seven Heat players scored in double figures, including all five starters.

Scary moment for Embiid

Embiid, meanwhile, struggled to find the form he displayed in Philadelphia on a 17-point, five-rebound night. After returning for Game 3 against the Heat from a concussion and orbital fracture sustained in the first round against the Toronto Raptors, Embiid took a blow to his face midway through the second quarter on Tuesday. He fought for a rebound with Miami's Dewayne Dedmon, and a Dedmon swipe at the ball sent the ball into Embiid's face.

Embiid collapsed to the court in obvious pain and remained there for several moments after removing his protective face mask. He briefly went to the 76ers bench but didn't leave the court. He quickly returned to the game.

He managed 11 points after halftime, but it wasn't nearly enough as he got little help from his supporting cast that thrived in Philadelphia.

James Harden, supporting cast offer little

James Harden was one of three 76ers players to score in double digits. But after flashing his former MVP form with 31 points while shooting 6 of 10 from 3-point range in a Game 4 win at home, he looked very much again like a role player in a 14-point, six-rebound effort on the road on Tuesday.

Tobias Harris, meanwhile, added 12 points on a 5-of-14 shooting night, while Tyrese Maxey cooled off with nine points while shooting 2 of 10 from the field.

A Heat defense that struggled on the road smothered the 76ers while holding them to 36.5% shooting from the field and forcing 15 turnovers. Miami also won the rebounding battle, 46-36, leaving the 76ers scrambling to find any positive takeaways from Tuesday.

The series shifts back to Philadelphia on Thursday, which the 76ers can take solace in. The series has taken dramatic swings for the home teams so far with no wins on the road through five games. But if the 76ers don't find answers for the problems they faced on Tuesday, this one might not return to Miami.

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