Bam Adebayo of the Miami Heat drives to the basket against the Philadelphia 76ers during Game 2 of the 2022 NBA Playoffs Eastern Conference Semifinals on May 4, 2022 at FTX Arena in Miami, Florida. (AFP)

The top-seeded Miami Heat overpowered the undermanned Philadelphia 76ers 119-103 on Wednesday to take a commanding 2-0 lead in their best-of-seven NBA Eastern Conference playoff series.

Bam Adebayo scored 23 points and pulled down nine rebounds and Jimmy Butler added 22 and 12 assists as the Heat again proved too much for a Sixers team missing star center Joel Embiid, who suffered a concussion and orbital fracture in Philadelphia’s series-clinching win over the Toronto Raptors.

Tyrese Maxey scored a game-high 34 points for Philadelphia, Tobias Harris added 21 and James Harden had 20.

But three-time scoring champion Harden was held to just four points in the second half, as the Heat, who trailed briefly in the first quarter but led 60-52 at halftime, cruised to victory.

Tyler Herro, the league’s sixth man of the year, scored 16 of his 18 points in the first half off the bench and made three of his five three-point attempts for Miami.

Victor Oladipo came off the bench to score 19 points and was an even more efficient three-of-four from beyond the arc as the Heat made 14 three-pointers.

The Sixers, meanwhile, struggled from three-point range, connecting on just eight of their 30 attempts.

Miami point guard Kyle Lowry missed a fourth straight game with a left hamstring strain, but Butler said the depth of the Heat, and the injuries they dealt with during the season, meant plenty of players were ready to step up.

“When guys are in and out of the lineup year long and guys fill in, it’s like nobody’s gone,” he said. “They’re so comfortable, so confident — they know they belong in this league.

“This is the brightest lights, the biggest stage, and they’re ready for it.”

But Butler knows the real test will come when the Heat travel to Philadelphia for games three and four starting on Friday.

“It’s going to be crazy,” he said. “They’ve got some of the best fans in the league, but we’ve got a job to do.

“We did what we were supposed to do at home. The series really starts when you take it to the road,” Butler added.

The Sixers will need more than fan support in Philadelphia, but it’s not clear when Embiid might return. He must complete the incremental concussion protocol, gradually increasing physical activity and training, to be cleared to play.

“He’s got so many steps to go through,” Sixers coach Doc Rivers said. “I don’t think he’s cleared any of them right now. So we just have to wait and see.”

Source: Manila Bulletin (