Hero and Pam beat the Miami Heat to beat the Sixers 106-92 in Game One of the Eastern Conference semi-finals

Miami Heat guard Tyler Hero (14) lays the ball during the first quarter of Game One of the second round of the NBA Eastern Conference Qualifier Series against the Philadelphia 76ers at the FTX Arena in Miami, Florida, Monday, May 2, 2022 .

Miami Heat guard Tyler Hero (14) lays the ball during the first quarter of Game One of the second round of the NBA Eastern Conference Qualifier Series against the Philadelphia 76ers at the FTX Arena in Miami, Florida, Monday, May 2, 2022 .

dvarela@miamiherald.com

A friend told me, as an announcement rather than a question, that we started the biggest week in sports history in South Florida. I went further: This might be the best the time To be a sports fan in Greater Miami.

Monday night didn’t hurt. Fit both ways.

The Miami Heat beat Philadelphia 106-92 to open this series in the NBA Eastern Conference semifinals, sending the happily selling crowd off the downtown circuit and onto Biscayne Street.

The time was right and the timing was right.

More bam please.

With Joel Embiid hitting the heart of the 76ers, it was the perfect time for Pam Adebayo to enjoy an attacking game. And after averaging 12.8 points in the first round of playoffs, he did just that with 24 points in an 8-for-10 shootout.

And Tyler Hero? He was named Sixth Man of the Year in the NBA with 25 points from the bench including four 3-point baskets.

Jimmy Butler was cool with just 15 points in a 5-for-16 shootout, but Herro and Adebay stepped up.

Hiro then said, “Just kick it.” “We won the first series as we should. Now we keep moving forward and take care of our business.”

We’re the hub for South Florida’s optimists, and we hope all of our top teams swell in a way that seems unprecedented.

The Heat and Florida Panthers are poised to make history by advancing the playoffs in the same season for the first time, if the hard-earned cats can win the first round starting Tuesday night against Washington. One of the favorites to win the Stanley Cup. The other believes he could make it to the NBA Finals, confirming the idea in Game 1 on Monday.

Optimism is everywhere. It surrounds dolphins. The Marlins win. Inter Miami just won the Freedom Park stadium vote, a turning point in the third-year football franchise. The first Miami Grand Prix of Formula 1 racing is roaring (loudly) this coming weekend.

Enthusiasm rises in Hurricanes football, too, after Canes men’s basketball has just reached the NCAA Elite Eight for the first time and UM baseball is highly rated and considering the College World Series.

Heady days.

Miami squandered a 14-point lead and slipped 51-50 in the first half as Philly’s zonal defense seemed to bother the Heat.

“We broke up a little bit in that second quarter,” Miami coach Eric Spoelstra said. “Transitions have taken us out of rhythm.”

The lapse was short-lived.

Miami dominated after the first half, with Hero providing a spark and a hard-hitting De Heat seemed to tire the 76ers.

This defense set James Harden of the Sixers to 16 points for a 5-to-13 shot.

The teams returned to the game in Miami for game two on Wednesday night. Embiid will be absent again, while Miami will be hoping to bring in back-point guard Kyle Lowry, who has missed the past three games with a hamstring injury.

Those teams split into four games during the regular season, when Miami won just two more games than Philly, yet the Heat got in on the preferred bet – only amplified by Embiid’s injury to an orbital fracture over a crooked thumb. The Sixers’ MVP nominee could return as early as Game 3 or 4.

This is the deepest playoff meeting between clubs. The Heat and Sixers previously met twice in the first round, in 2011 and 18.

Miami 9-3 progressed in the series this round or later when they won Game 1, with Philly now desperate to avoid a 2-0 hole.

“The key for us is to stay there, keep fighting, and keep playing at a pace we want to play,” Sixers coach Doc Rivers said of playing without the Embiid. “We all have to bear our weight for sure. And do more.”

Profile photo of Greg Kott

Greg Cott is a sports columnist for the Miami Herald, selected in 2021 as a Top 10 Columnist by the Associated Press’s Sports Editors. Greg also hosts the podcast The Greg Cote Show and appears regularly on The Dan LeBatard Show With Stugotz.

.