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Heat to the Eastern finals and Harden's Sixers out

Jimmy Butler was the most outstanding for Miami with 32 points

The Miami Heat took out the first ticket to the NBA Conference Finals on Thursday with a 99-90 win against the Philadelphia 76ers.

At the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Jimmy Butler got revenge against his former team with 32 points that propelled the Heat to settle the tie 4-2 on aggregate.

On the other hand, Joel Embiid, who competes with various injuries to his face and one hand, finished with 20 points and 12 rebounds, but could not avoid his team's fourth elimination at this stage in five years, this time against the Heat.

Read also: Kyle Lowry will not be in the sixth game of the Heat

The Cameroonian, top scorer of the NBA season (30,6 points), had little support from teammates like Harden, who certified his failure in his first season in Philadelphia with 11 points and 9 assists.

"When we were on offense, the ball didn't come back to me," Harden justified after taking only two shots in the entire second half, both missed.

Sixers fans booed their players during the fourth quarter as Butler waved goodbye from the court.

"We've played well, we've made shots, we've defended and completed the job," said Butler, who was runner-up with the Heat in 2020.

Philadelphia was once again overwhelmed by the Heat's intensity in a series in which it had regained hope after the opening two losses in Miami.

Refusing to miss out on the best season of his career, Embiid joined the series racing in a mask that protects him from a facial fracture.

This Thursday he presented all the battle, he could in a game in which he suffered several falls and blows to the face.

Harden's failure

With Embiid depleted, the Sixers needed the best version of James Harden, whom they drafted in February hoping he would be the missing piece.

But the three-time league leading scorer and 2018 MVP had one of the most disappointing performances of his career.

Read also: Heat sink the Sixers and are one away from advancing

The 32-year-old shooting guard assured after the game that he will not exercise his option to become a free agent.

"I'm going to be here" next year, stressed Harden, for whom Philadelphia gave the Nets All-Star point guard Ben Simmons and two first-round draft picks.

The Heat will face either the Boston Celtics or the Milwaukee Bucks in the Eastern Finals, who dominate their series 3-2.

AFP

For the rest of the day:

  • Mavericks 113-86 Suns

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