Erik Spoelstra makes it clear Heat’s rebounding must improve vs. Sixers: ‘They’re burying us’

Miami Heat’s Bam Adebayo, left, shoot as Philadelphia 76ers’ Ben Simmons, right, watches during the second half in Game 1 of a first-round NBA basketball playoff series Saturday, April 14, 2018, in Philadelphia. The 76ers won 130-103. (AP Photo/Chris Szagola)

MIAMI — Not all of the talk after Wednesday’s practice was about what the Heat did right in their Game 2 win. Some of it was on what they did wrong.

“They’re burying us, they’re absolutely burying us on the glass,” Miami coach Erik Spoelstra said when asked about Philadelphia’s second-chance points. “They’re burying us, that has to change.”

With Game 3 on Thursday at 7 p.m., the Heat hope that changes fast. The Sixers have a 45-18 advantage in second-chance points and a 34-20 edge in offensive rebounds through the first two games of the first-round series.

The Sixers also have outscored the Heat 102-68 in the paint in the series.

This isn’t necessarily surprising, considering Philadelphia finished the regular season as the top rebounding team in the league (47.4 rebounds per game) and fifth in second-chance points (13.7 per game).

But the Heat did a solid job limiting teams in those areas before the playoffs. Miami allowed the sixth-fewest offensive rebounds (9.1 per game) and the ninth-fewest second-chance points (11.7 per game) during the regular season.

The Sixers are tough to contain, though, because their ball movement and offensive actions sometimes require the Heat’s big man to challenge outside shots. That brings one of Miami’s top rebounders away from the basket, giving Philadelphia an edge when the rebound is in the air.

“Especially the catch-and-shoot players, when they come out of the screen, sometimes we got two guys challenging the shot,” Heat point guard Goran Dragic said. “When the big guys challenge the shot, that gives their big guys a straight line to offensive rebounds. We need to be more consistent with that and try to get our bigs to big guys. For our guards, we need to contest those shots better so the big guy doesn’t need to contest them.”

It’s not an easy task and it will get even tougher when Sixers All-Star center Joel Embiid returns from injury. Embiid, who averaged 11.0 rebounds in the regular season, has missed the past 10 games with an orbital bone fracture but has not been ruled out for Game 3 yet.

“It’s not as simple as just go up and get the ball and box out. I mean they’re doing a lot of things to pull a lot of triggers that allows them to be able to rebound the ball as great as they have,” Heat guard Dwyane Wade said.

“… We’re going to have to make a few extra-effort plays. We’ve got to understand it’s something they’re doing, as well. In Game 1, we didn’t do that and they were knocking all the shots down. In a sense, it’s kind of pick your poison, as well. We would love to be dominant in every statistical category, but we’re playing a team that’s very good. We’re not going to dominate in every statistical category. They’re going to beat us in some and hopefully we beat them in some.”

[Heat Mailbag: After his throwback Game 2, should Dwyane Wade start?]

[Even after the Heat won Game 2 to take home-court advantage, the Sixers are still betting favorites to win the series]

[Playing time, box-score stats still lacking for Hassan Whiteside. But Erik Spoelstra says Whiteside’s ‘activity level was superb’ in Game 2]

[Heat contest, bully Simmons, Sixers’ 3-point shooters while tying up the series]

[Joel Embiid says he’s ‘sick and tired of being babied’ after sitting out Game 2 loss to Heat]

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