Tyler Herro scored 25 points from the bench as the Miami Heat exploited the injury absence of Joel Embiid to rout the Philadelphia 76ers 106-92 in their Eastern Conference playoff series opener on Monday.
Herro led a balanced offensive effort as top seeds Miami pulled away after trailing at half-time to go 1-0 up in the best-of-seven conference semi-final series.
Five Miami players finished with double-digit points tallies as the depleted Sixers faded from contention after a gutsy first half display that left the fourth seeds leading 51-50 at half-time.
Philadelphia’s preparations were rocked on Friday after confirmation that star big man Embiid had suffered an orbital fracture and concussion in the Sixers’ first round series-clincher against Toronto on Thursday.
Embiid’s presence was sorely lacking at Miami’s FTX Arena on Monday as the Heat outscored a weary-looking Sixers 56-41 in the second half.
Herro led the scoring for Miami despite starting on the bench, shooting 9-of-17 from the field including four three-pointers with seven assists.
“It’s always all hands on deck with us, next man up mentality no matter what,” Herro said of his contribution from the bench.
“We just had to find a way to keep the offense going, and guys stepped up defensively. We just want to keep playing well and keep things going.”
Bam Adebayo meanwhile had a double-double with 25 points and 12 rebounds while fit-again Jimmy Butler returned to the starting line-up from injury with 15 points, nine rebounds and three assists.
Tobias Harris led the Philadelphia scorers with 27 points, while Tyrese Maxey added 19 and James Harden 16.
Game two in the series takes place in Miami on Wednesday.