5 Takeaways from Philadelphia 76ers’ Miami Heat game

Nov 21, 2016; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid (21) reacts as time winds down on a victory against the Miami Heat at Wells Fargo Center. The Philadelphia 76ers won 101-94. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

The Philadelphia 76ers defeated the Miami Heat by a final score of 101-94 on Monday, Nov. 21 at the Wells Fargo Center.

It’s been a long time coming.

For the first time since March 20, 2015, the Philadelphia 76ers have finally started a win-streak by capturing their second victory in a row.

By defeating the Miami Heat 101-94 on Monday night at the Wells Fargo Center, the Sixers improve to 4-10 on the year (the team’s best start since the 2013-14 season). The Sixers have now won their last four home games.

Joel Embiid led the scoring charge for the Sixers with 22 points. He also grabbed 5 rebounds and blocked three shots in 23 minutes of action.

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Gerald Henderson and Jahlil Okafor contributed 19 and 15 points, respectively, while Ersan Ilyasova scored 10 points with a team-high 11 rebounds.

Miami’s Hassan Whiteside fought his way to a game-high 32 points to go along with 13 rebounds and Dion Waiters chipped in 19 points of his own.

Aside from the stat sheet, there was plenty to take away from Monday night’s contest.

Here’s five takeaways, specifically:

Nov 21, 2016; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia 76ers forward Robert Covington (33) drives against Miami Heat guard Josh Richardson (0) during the first quarter at Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

1 – Covington Needs to Get Out of His Own Head

It’s not exactly a secret that Robert Covington hasn’t been the most consistent 3-point shooter this year.

Over the first three years of his NBA career, he successfully made 36.3 of his behind-the-arc attempts. This season is a different story, and Monday’s tilt with fit Covington’s recent mold.

He finished the game with 9 points on 4-of-13 shooting and was just 1-for-5 from 3-point range. Conveniently for him, the lone 3-pointer was the game’s biggest shot and put the Sixers up 96-91 with under three minutes to go in regulation.

And that’s just it: Covington is a good shooter that isn’t shooting well right now. He’s simply in a slump, and if he continues to stick with it, good things will eventually happen.

As the saying goes: shooters gotta shoot.

Heading into Monday, Covington was shooting just 24.7-percent from 3-point land and 25.7-percent from the floor (down from 39.1-percent for his career).

Something has been wrong with his shot up to this point of the season, and more than likely, it’s mental, because we’ve all seen Covington be a successful shooter in the past.

Many sports fans in the City of Brotherly Love are comparing Covington’s early-season woes to Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Nelson Agholor. This comparison is not fair.

Agholor is a 2nd-year player who hasn’t really done much throughout his career, while Covington is a fourth-year 37-percent 3-point shooter.

As noted above, we’ve seen Covington produce in the past on a fairly regular basis, and I suspect he’ll be back shooting above the 35-percent mark on 3-pointers sooner rather than later.

Covington was also second on the team with 9 rebounds on Monday night and contributed a team-high 3 steals.

Minutes the shooting, he’s playing good basketball up to this point of the season.

Once he gets his head right and starts making shots more consistently, watch out.

Nov 21, 2016; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia 76ers guard Nik Stauskas (11) looses controls of the ball in front of Miami Heat center Hassan Whiteside (21) during the first quarter at Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

2- Stauskas is Looking More Confident

After a slow start to the season, Nik Stauskas is looking more confident each game, and the hometown crowd is appreciative.

Every time he touches the ball, he’s looking to make something happen, and every time he checked into the game on Monday, the crowd gave him a nice ovation.

Sauce finished the game with a stat line of 8 points, 3 rebounds and four turnovers.

He didn’t have the best shooting night, connecting on 2 of his 6 field goals, but he went 2-for-4 from 3-point range, and even after his misses, he still looks confident. That’s a heck of an improvement from where he was earlier in the year.

Stauskas also finished a four-point play after getting fouled on a made 3-pointer.

He has the capability of getting through the lane and the ability to be a high-percentage outside shooter. Three years into his NBA career, he’s finally proving it.

Sure, his four turnovers were a team-high, but they all came when he was attacking the basket and trying to make something happen. And the fact he’s trying to make plays with the ball shows just how much his confidence has risen this season.

Nov 21, 2016; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia 76ers guard Jerryd Bayless (0) dribbles against the Miami Heat during the first quarter at Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

3 – Bayless Rusty in Debut, But Still Efficient

In his first regular season NBA game sporting a Sixers uniform, Jerryd Bayless was a bit rusty in his 16 minutes of action, but he did show some bright spots.

In the third quarter, he connected with Jahlil Okafor on a few pick-and-rolls in traffic to help the Sixers build a lead.

Overall, he finished with four points and tied Sergio Rodriguez for a team-high 5 assists.

He struggled to make his shots from the floor and went just 1-for-7 on field goal attempts, but that’s to be expected after missing the first 13 games of the season with a wrist injury.

It’s safe to see he’ll be a welcomed addition to the team once he’s fully healthy.

Nov 21, 2016; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid (21) drives past Miami Heat center Hassan Whiteside (21) during the second half at Wells Fargo Center. The Philadelphia 76ers won 101-94. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

4 – Embiid is a Very Special Player

It doesn’t matter who he’s matched up against: in every game he plays, Joel Embiid continues to prove that he is among the most talented young big men in the league.

On offense, he constantly wants the ball in his hands and he has a tremendous amount of confidence going right at his defenders.

On Monday against Hassan Whiteside (arguably the best defensive big man in the league), Embiid put up a team-high 22 points (7-for-13 field goals), grabbed five rebounds and blocked three shots with one steal.

Someone playing in their 10th NBA game ever should not be able to put up 22 points on a player of Whiteside’s caliber, but that’s exactly what Embiid did.

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Embiid can out-muscle opposing big men in the post and has the capability to pull them outside and either drain a 3-pointer or drive right past them.

Simply put, this kid can do it all, and there’s not many players in the league who have a skill-set quite like Embiid’s.

It should be a ton of fun watching him improve as the season moves along.

Nov 21, 2016; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia 76ers guard Gerald Henderson (12) scrambles for a loose ball against the Miami Heat during the second half at Wells Fargo Center. The Philadelphia 76ers won 101-94. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

5- Gerald Henderson Proving a Valuable Addition to Sixers

When the Sixers signed Gerald Henderson this past offseason, they did so to bring a veteran presence into the most youthful locker room in the NBA.

So far, that’s exactly what he’s done.

Henderson has been setting an example for the young guys on the team and showing them what it takes to compete as an NBA player. Night in and night out, it seems like Henderson is constantly on the ground, diving for loose balls and absorbing contact as he drives through the lane.

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He’s brought a toughness to the Sixers organization that has desperately needed just that.

On Monday, he dropped 19 points (6-for-8 field goals) and connected on all three of his 3-point attempts.

The Sixers signed him to a two-year deal, $18 million contract this past summer, and so far, he’s earning every bit of it.

Next up, the Sixers will host the Memphis Grizzlies on Wednesday, Nov. 23 with the tipoff slated for 7:00 p.m.

Let’s see if the Sixers can extend their win-streak to three games.

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