The Miami Heat looked to be in cruise control after dominating the Philadelphia 76ers in Games 1 and 2 to take a 2-0 series lead in the Eastern Conference Semifinals. But then Joel Embiid came back for Game 3 in Philly and everything flipped. The Sixers won Game 3 by 20 points and then pulled out a clutch Game 4 victory behind James Harden's heroics.


This is now a best-of-three series with things shifting back to Miami. Philly has all the momentum with Embiid back and Harden getting a monster game under his belt, which will have to help his confidence after his previous shooting struggles.

Yet, the Heat shouldn't panic at all as Game 5 approaches on Tuesday, and there are several reasons why.

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Why Heat shouldn't panic vs. Sixers

1. The 3-point shooting has to flip around at some point

The Heat led the NBA in 3-point percentage in the regular season at 37.9% while ranking sixth in 3-point makes per game. However, their long-range shooting has totally abandoned them in this series. Take out a 14-of-29 effort from deep in Game 2, and Miami is 23-of-101 from distance in the other three games.

That includes a putrid 7-of-35 showing in Game 4, which came after a 7-of-30 effort in Game 3. Jimmy Butler (not a good 3-point shooter) and Max Strus were the only Heat players to make more than a single triple in Game 4, and they both made two apiece. Kyle Lowry, P.J. Tucker, Tyler Herro, Gabe Vincent and Victor Oladipo all combined to shoot 3-of-24 on 3s.

Locked On Heat's Wes Goldberg did a deep dive thread on the 3-point shooting woes here:

While Lowry is a mess offensively and might not play in Game 5 because of his hamstring problems, one has to think Miami is due for some shooting variance to come back in its favor as long as the quality of looks remains at a reasonable level. Plus, there's also the option of dusting off Duncan Robinson for a shooting boost. While Robinson has his defensive flaws, he has the ability to heat up quickly and could provide a spark.

Meanwhile, the Sixers probably won't shoot as poorly from 3 as they did in Games 1 and 2 (14-of-64 combined), but it will be tough to put forth another 16-of-33 performance (or better) like they just did twice in Philly. That leads into the next point.

2. James Harden, Sixers hit a number of really difficult shots in Game 4

While Harden is still a good player no matter what, his scoring regression has been noticeable, including from beyond the arc. Before Game 4, Harden was just 4-of-19 from 3-point land in the series and hadn't made five 3-pointers since his first game with Philly.

The Beard certainly picked the perfect time to bust out from a Sixers perspective. Harden scored 31 points on Sunday, nine more than his previous playoff high this season and one short of his Sixers high since the trade. He went 6-of-10 from 3-point range, with several killer daggers late in the shot clock as part of a 16-point fourth quarter, his second-highest scoring quarter of his playoff career.

Harden hitting difficult shots late in the clock was a theme of the Sixers' entire offensive performance. Check out this these wild stats:

While the Heat couldn't buy a 3-pointer, the Sixers made a bunch of miracles at the end of the shot clock. It's a make-or-miss league, as they say, but this game was an extreme version of that. Miami has to feel at least somewhat confident in this not happening again, at least to that degree.

3. Home-court advantage

While the first two games in Miami obviously come with the caveat that Joel Embiid didn't play, it's still worth noting that the Heat have home-court advantage, which has been a factor for them all season. Miami is 5-0 at FTX Arena in the playoffs after going 29-12 at home in the regular season, the best home record in the Eastern Conference.

With their home crowd behind them and some of these role players due for positive shooting regression, the Heat should be in line for a much better performance in Game 5. Ultimately, they simply have to win their home games to win this series.

The Lowry situation is troublesome, but Miami is a deep team that just needs some of these key pieces to step up and hit shots. Jimmy Butler is doing his part (27.5 PPG in this series so far), but he's going to need some help now that Embiid is back in the fold and Harden has increased confidence. Aside from the need to hit 3-pointers, Bam Adebayo also must look more like his All-Star self against Embiid.

While it's going to be tough, the Heat should still feel okay about where they're at, even after these previous two losses.