10 horrifying stats from a hideous 76ers loss

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The good news is the 76ers rarely lose playoff games by 35 points.

The bad news is we all had to sit through one of them Wednesday night.

This was bad.

The Heat took a 3-2 lead over the 76ers in their Eastern Conference semifinal round series with a 120-85 win at FTX Arena in Miami.

Read on … if you dare.

ONE OF THE WORST EVER: This was the 4th-worst postseason loss in 76ers history, and the second-worst in the last 40 years. They lost by 40 to the Celtics in 1982 (121-81) and by 36 twice – to the Bucks in 1970 (156-120) and the Raptors in 2019 (125-89). It was the 76ers’ worst loss in any game to the Heat in 28 years. Miami beat the 76ers by 37 in a regular-season game in 1994 (120-83).

GOING DOWN WITH A WHIMPER: This was a 15-point game when the 4th quarter began, but the Heat outscored the 76ers by 20 in the final period, 39-19. That’s the 3rd-largest margin the 76ers have ever been outscored by in a postseason fourth quarter. The Hawks outscored them by 21 in the fourth quarter of Game 5 last year (40-19) and the Celtics outscored them by 23 in 2002 (43-20). It was the first time since 2019 a team has outscored the 76ers by 20 points in a regular-season or playoff fourth quarter. 

THAT’S THREE BLOWOUTS: With losses by 14 points in Game 1, 16 in Game 2 and 35 in Game 3, this is only the third time in franchise history and second time since the 76ers moved from Syracuse after the 1963 season that they’ve lost three games in any series by 14 or more points. In 2008 they lost to the Pistons by 23, 17 and 17 in their first-round series. Before that, the Syracuse Nationals lost by 22, 22 and 21 points to the Celtics in their 1959 Eastern Division Finals series. 

CRUSHING HIS FORMER TEAM: With 23 points, Jimmy Butler now has 96 in the last three games while shooting 60 percent from the field. He’s only the fifth player in history and third in the last 50 years to score 96 points and shoot 60 percent in any three-game span against the 76ers in the postseason. Shaquille O’Neal did it for the Lakers in 2001 (102 points, 60 percent), and Kawhi Leonard in 2019 for Toronto (113 points, 61 percent). Before that, only George Mikan in 1950 and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar did it.

HARDEN AT HIS WORST: After a rare terrific performance on Sunday, James Harden struggled again Tuesday night with a minus-29 in 29 minutes. Harden has started 105 playoff games in his career, but this was the first time he's had 14 or fewer points, six or fewer rebounds, four or fewer assists, four or more turnovers and shot 38 percent from the field or worse. In his 13-year NBA career, Harden has started 1,047 games, and this was only the fifth time he’s put up those numbers and the first time since a 2015 game for the Rockets against the Pelicans (38 percent, 11 points, 2 rebounds, 3 assists, 5 turnovers). 

MORE HARDEN: Harden now has 46 turnovers this postseason, second-most in 76ers history through 11 games of any postseason. Charles Barkley had 59 in 1986. Harden is the first player in NBA history to commit 46 or more turnovers and shoot 40 percent or worse (minimum 8.0 shots per game) through 11 games of a postseason. The last three players to commit 46 turnovers and shoot 42 percent or worse from the field 11 games into a postseason are James Harden in 2017, James Harden in 2019 and James Harden in 2022.

SHOOTING IS AN ISSUE: Harden has now failed to record back-to-back games shooting 50 percent or better in his last 28 games. He’s the first 76er to shoot 45 percent or worse in five straight playoff games since Lou Williams in 2012 (minimum 10 attempts). 

TOUGH TO WATCH: Joel Embiid, fighting a growing assortment of injuries, played very tough and refused to leave the game no matter how bad he was hurting, and he managed to grind through 33 minutes before the game got out of hand. But no matter what the circumstances, we’re not used to seeing the should-have-been MVP with 17 points and 5 rebounds in any game. Embiid has played 254 games where he's gotten 30 or more minutes, and this is the first time in his career – regular season or playoffs – that he’s had 17 or fewer points and 5 or fewer rebounds.

FOURTH-QUARTER NIGHTMARE: In the fourth quarter, the 76ers shot 8-for-27 from the field and 1-for-9 from 3 and the Heat shot 15-for-22 from the field and 4-for-8 from 3. Somehow, Harden and Maxey were both minus-14 in 3:42. They are the first 76ers since the NBA began tracking plus-minus in 1997 to be minus-14 in under four minutes of a playoff game. Matter of fact, only three 76ers have been minus-14 in four or fewer minutes in any game over the last 20 years (Willie Green in 2008, Lou Williams in 2009, Amir Johnson in 2018).

NI-CLANG: Georges Niang was 0-for-6 from 3 after going 0-for-7 in Game 1. In 76ers history, there has only been one other instance of a player taking six or more 3’s and missing them all, and that was Allen Iverson, who was 0-for-8 against the Bucks in 2001. So Niang is responsible for two of the three-worst 3-point shooting performances in 76ers playoff history, with both over the last three weeks. Niang is the seventh player in NBA history to have two such games in a series and the first to do it in the conference semifinal round since Scottie Pippin of the Bulls in 1997. Overall, Niang is 4-for-24 in the Miami series for 17 percent. That’s the 3rd-lowest 3-point shooting percentage through five games of any 76ers postseason series. In 2001, Iverson shot 14 percent (3-for-21) in the first five games against the Bucks, and in 2012 Andre Iguodala shot 15 percent (3-for-21) vs. the Bulls.

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