The Philadelphia 76ers will attempt to begin a new winning streak after losing to the Miami Heat 113-103.Â The series is now tied 1-1 with Game 3 to be played in Miami on Thursday night.
The Philadelphia 76ers, down all night, fought to climb back to within two points of Miami with three minutes left. Miami substituted Dwyane Wade back into the game while the 76ers countered with Robert Covington. Miami promptly went on an 8-0 run and held on to win game two of this series.
Philadelphia 76ers, welcome to the real NBA playoffs. Throw out the first game where Miami played a disinterested second half. In game two, Miami played aggressively all night and Philly received their first playoff punch in the face. Game two will be a better representation of how Miami will play the rest of the series. It will be interesting to see how Philly responds on Thursday. Now for the analyzing part, and it’s not pretty.
STARTERS — ADVANTAGE HEAT
Goren Dragic and James Johnson both had excellent games, combining for 38 points on 15-21 shooting. Josh Richardson provided support with 14 points and was a solid defensive presence.
The Sixers were led by Ben Simmons and Dario Saric, who combined for 47 points on 18-38 shooting, however Saric also had five turnovers. Robert Covington was only 3-13 shooting and J.J. Redick 4-13.
BENCH — ADVANTAGE HEAT
It helps Miami to bring a still-effective top 50 player of all-time off their bench. Dwyane Wade was the difference tonight, scoring 28 points on 11-17 shooting. Miami also received contributions from Wayne Ellington and Kelly Olynyk with 11 points each.
COACHING — ADVANTAGE HEAT
Brett Brown was heard in a third quarter huddle telling the 76ers when Miami overplayed them on the perimeter to take the ball to the basket. Brown should have told the Sixers that in the second quarter when Miami began to exert their defensive dominance.
When it became apparent that Miami was going to stick to the 76ers’ shooters all evening, Brown should have instructed Simmons back down his defender earlier and have the other Sixers screen away from Simmons.
Why does T.J. McConnell get minutes in the second half and not Markelle Fultz? This would have been a good learning experience for Fultz. It would have been good for Fultz’s growth to play regular minutes in a game where the 76ers struggle.
By not playing him, Brown may set Fultz back emotionally. Fultz, who may still be in a fragile mental state anyway, may be questioning why he didn’t play. Brett Brown, I have news for you — T.J. is not the answer for a spark off the bench.
The 76ers had a team on the floor that cut the Miami lead from 12 to two points late in the fourth quarter. Why substitute? Finish with what got you there. The time outs are twice as long, so fatigue should not be an issue. Hopefully Brown is not going to over-rely on his tank players.
PLAYING STYLE — ADVANTAGE HEAT
Miami was aggressive defensively and it showed on the Sixers shooing only 42 percent for the game and an anemic 20 percent from three. Miami wasn’t much better, however Miami had players that could go one-on-one and get their own shot. Philly does not.
At half time both Miami and Philly had only nine assists to nine turnovers, however Miami could break down the Sixer defenders going one-on-one. Also the Philly defenders would run out too hard on shooters, allowing the Miami players to drive by them.
Not a big fan of either Tony Brothers or Scott Foster, however Miami was the aggressor and was rewarded by the officials. Only issue was all the illegal screens most of the Miami players set most of the evening, not just Hassan Whiteside.