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NBA playoffs: Heat beat Joel Embiid-less 76ers in Game 1; Suns hold off Mavericks

Heat guard Max Strus tries to cut off a drive by 76ers guard James Harden.
Heat guard Max Strus tries to cut off a drive by 76ers guard James Harden during the first half Monday in Miami.
(Marta Lavandier / Associated Press)
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Tyler Herro scored 25 points, Bam Adebayo finished with 24 points and 12 rebounds, and the Miami Heat topped the shorthanded Philadelphia 76ers 106-92 on Monday night in the opener of their Eastern Conference semifinal series in Miami.

Jimmy Butler added 15 points for the top-seeded Heat, who got 10 points from Gabe Vincent and P.J. Tucker.

The 76ers were without Joel Embiid, the MVP finalist who isn’t even in Miami while recovering from an orbital fracture and concussion — injuries suffered in Philadelphia’s first-round-clinching win at Toronto. He’s not expected to play in Game 2, which is Wednesday in Miami.

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And as would be expected, he was missed. Tobias Harris scored 27 points for Philadelphia, which got 19 from Tyrese Maxey and 16 points, nine rebounds and five assists from James Harden.

Miami came out as aggressive as could be, putting Tucker on Harden and having him guard him the entire 94 feet of the floor in a similar approach to what the Heat utilized against Atlanta’s Trae Young in the first round series.

It worked — for a while. Miami led by as many as 12 in the opening quarter, then a 10-2 run fueled by eight points from Herro gave the Heat a 13-point edge at 37-24 to mark their biggest of the half. The margin was still 46-36 midway through the second after another Herro basket.

Golden State beats Memphis after Draymond Green is ejected while Giannis Antetokounmpo has a triple-double in Milwaukee’s win over Boston.

May 1, 2022

The rest of the half was all Philly.

Miami shot one for nine from the field over the final six minutes of the half, with four turnovers during that span as well, and Philadelphia went on a 15-4 spurt. Harden’s shot in the lane with 28 seconds left put the 76ers up 51-50, their first lead of the night and the score that they took into the locker room.

The 76ers scored the first four points of the second half, going up by five. That was as good as it got for the 76ers.

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Adebayo took a bullet pass from Tucker for a dunk that put Miami up 62-61, and that would be the final lead change of the night. It was the start of a 10-0 run that built a cushion, and then an 13-2 run early in the fourth decided matters and pushed the Heat edge out to 98-77.

Suns 121, Mavericks 114

PHOENIX (AP) — Deandre Ayton scored 25 points, Devin Booker added 23 and the top-seeded Phoenix Suns rolled to a 121-114 win over the Dallas Mavericks on Monday night in Game 1 of the Western Conference semifinals.

The Suns never trailed, jumping to a 9-0 lead in the opening minutes and rarely let off the gas. They shot 50.5% from the field, won the rebounding edge 51-36 and beat the Mavericks for the 10th straight time, counting regular season games.

Luka Doncic led the Mavericks with 45 points, 12 rebounds and eight assists. It’s the first time Dallas has advanced to the postseason’s second round in Doncic’s four-year NBA career.

Doncic and Maxi Kleber looked ready for the challenge but the rest of the Mavs didn’t do much until it was too late. Kleber finished with 19 points.

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Game 2 is on Wednesday in Phoenix.

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