In the NBA’s penultimate game of its annual Christmas Day marathon, the Miami Heat bested the Philadelphia 76ers 119-113 inside Kaseya Center Monday evening.
The victory marked the Heat’s ninth consecutive victory on Christmas, remaining unbeaten in the Erik Spoelstra era on Christmas and improving a league-best 12-2 on the holiday.
Both teams were without key pieces: The Heat were without star wing Jimmy Butler–in addition to Haywood Highsmith and Josh Richardson–while the 76ers were without reigning MVP and current MVP frontrunner in Joel Embiid.
Never fear: Jaime Jaquez Jr. delivered his best Butler impression Monday, just like he’s done so often with his on-court playstyle and acumen. Jaquez Jr. finished with a career-high 31 points on a ridiculously efficient 11-of-15 shooting with 10 rebounds, one assist and two steals. He became the ninth rookie all-time to have at least 30 points on Christmas, doing so in 39 minutes.
Bam Adebayo posted a 25-point, 15-rebound double-double with five assists and three blocks–one of the more dominant defensive performances he’s put together tis season. He shot 9-of-15 from the floor and 8-of-12 from the charity stripe and clearly established himself as the best big on the floor on a national stage.
Tyler Herro had a very uneven performance, but still had 22 points, six rebounds, five assists, a steal and a block on 4-of-11 shooting from deep. Duncan Robinson had 16 points on 5-of-10 shooting from 3-point range, in addition to four rebounds, two assists and one steal.
The Heat shot 47.6 percent from the floor and 12-of-32 (37.5 percent) from deep; Philadelphia shot 42.6 percent and 17-of-45 from beyond the arc. Though the biggest discrepancy came on the glass, the Heat finished a plus-20 on the glass, hauling in eight more offensive rebounds.
Tobias Harris and Kelly Oubre Jr. led the 76ers in points with 27 and 25, respectively. Harris shot 10-of-18 with seven rebounds and six assists, while Oubre knocked down six of his nine 3s with seven boards and three assists. Mo Bamba dazzled with 18 points on 7-of-8 shooting with six boards while Tyrese Maxey, frontrunner for sixth man of the year, had just 12 points on 4-of-20 shooting.
The Heat have now won six of their last seven games, while the 76ers have subsequently dropped to 0-4 without Embiid this season. Miami now begins a five-game West Coast trip, beginning with the Golden State Warriors Thursday.
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