It’s the continuation of an Eastern Conference quarterfinal series in the City of Brotherly Love. The Miami Heat play Game 2 of their best of seven series on the road as they travel to face the Philadelphia 76ers Monday night. Philadelphia rolled to an easy 130-103 blowout win in Game 1 of the series at home on Saturday night. The Heat holds a 60-57 edge in the all-time regular season series: the teams split four meetings this season with the home team prevailing in each contest. In the postseason, Miami won the only previous series, 4-1, in the first round of the 2011 playoffs: they now hold a 4-2 edge in games won.
Miami Heat Forced to Regroup Quickly
Miami was unable to hang with the versatility and the explosiveness that Philadelphia can bring to the table as they were bombed in the second half. The Heat held a 60-56 edge at the half but found itself outscored 74-43 in the second half to go down in flames. Miami shot 44.9 percent from the field and knocked down 12 of 26 three point attempts in the contest. The Heat couldn’t slow down Philadelphia’s perimeter shooting as they gave a up playoff franchise record for threes allowed in a game. Miami also took a 50-42 beating on the glass, turned the ball over 16 times and couldn’t get stops in the second half.
Kelly Olynyk had a big game in a losing effort for Miami as he put up 26 points and seven rebounds off the bench in the contest. Goran Dragic finished with 15 points but was pretty much a non-factor for most of the game. James Johnson contributed 13 points and Dwyane Wade added 11 in 19 minutes of action off the bench. Miami simply has to get more from Josh Richardson (one of seven from the field, four points), Tyler Johnson (two of six, nine points) and Wayne Ellington (two of five, six points) if they are going to hang with the high octane 76ers offensive attack.
Philadelphia 76ers Shoot to Keep Rolling Along, Take 2-0 Series Edge
Philadelphia got off to a bit of a slow start but regrouped as they found their rhythm before blowing the doors off in the second half. The 76ers were down six after the opening quarter and by four at the half before taking control. Philadelphia outscored Miami 34-18 in the third quarter to take a 12 point edge and then poured it on in the fourth for the victory. The 76ers hit 47.4 percent from the field overall, including draining a franchise playoff record 18 three pointers on just 28 attempts. In addition, Philadelphia grabbed 17 offensive rebounds en route to a 50-42 advantage on the glass. The hot outside shooting buried Miami.
JJ Redick led the barrage for the 76ers as he scored 28 points in the win, with 24 of those coming in the second half. Marco Belinelli delivered a big game with 25 points off the bench while Dario Saric chipped in 20 points to go with six rebounds. Ben Simmons narrowly missed a triple-double with 17 points, nine rebounds and 14 assists while Ersan Ilyasova posted 17 points and 14 rebounds in a reserve role. Philadelphia’s bench group piled up 54 points while the starters outscored Miami’s starting five 76-43 in the game. It’s a safe bet that Robert Covington will have more than nine points in Game 2: he did add seven rebounds, four assists and three blocks in the game. Factor in the news that Joel Embiid expects to return either in Game 2 or 3 depending on when he gets cleared by the team doctors and the 76ers are that much more dangerous.
- Heat are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 after scoring 100 points or more in their previous game
- 76ers are 9-1 ATS in their last 10 games following a straight up win of more than 10 points
- 76ers are 9-2 ATS in their last 11 vs. Eastern Conference
Miami proved totally inept at stopping the 76ers in Game 1 of the series as Philadelphia really just ran roughshod in the second half of the contest. Philadelphia’s ability to shoot from the perimeter and make every shot seem like it was going in rendered the Heat’s attempts at defense moot. Miami couldn’t keep the 76ers off the offensive glass and they seemed to get frustrated in the fourth quarter as Philadelphia kept making trips to the line. The Heat is the more battle tested of the two teams but it’s hard to go against the kind of momentum the 76ers have right now. With the home team winning in each of the now five meetings between the teams this season, look for the 76ers to take a 2-0 lead.
Pick: Philadelphia 76ers -7
There are plenty of things that one can look at and wonder about in this contest. For starters, how will Erik Spoelstra game plan defensively in Game 2? Saric, Redick and Belinelli each had four triples in the opener and Ilyasova added three. Factor in that Embiid could return here and the Heat has to adjust for that as well. What can we expect from Hassan Whiteside going forward? He played just 12 minutes in Game 1, shooting one of four from the field, finishing with two points and six rebounds. Dragic was four of 14 from the field and had five fouls as he was neutralized most of the contest. Can he get it going and help spur Miami offensively or was the late season battle to earn the Southeast Division crown too much for the Heat?
It’s hard to envision Philadelphia burying 18 three point field goals again as they did in the opener. With that said, should Embiid return, it adds yet another dimension, another wrinkle to the 76ers’ attack. Miami will have to aggressively defend the perimeter, which could leave the interior open for easy buckets off drives and cuts to the basket. This one likely ends up squeaking over the total just because of how dangerous Philadelphia can be offensively.