sports 2 days ago

Wade, Heat storm back, even series with 76ers with 113-103 win

Sun Sentinel — By Ira Winderman Sun Sentinel

April 16-- PHILADELPHIA-Brett Brown went into the night discounting the revelry from his team's 23-point rout in Saturday's opener of this best-of-seven opening-round NBA playoff series.

"I know we're going to get their very best," the Philadelphia 76ers coach said.

He knew what was coming from the Miami Heat, if not exactly how it would be coming.

It came from a revival for the aged from Dwyane Wade, lockdown defensive defiance from Justise Winslow, restored confidence from Goran Dragic and Josh Richardson.

It came in a 113-103 Heat victory that sends this series to Thursday's Game 2 at AmericanAirlines Arena tied 1-1.

As Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said going in, it didn't matter how the Heat escaped Philadelphia with a victory, only that they did.

With the script now flipped.

"If you can steal a game and then go back home and hold serve," Brown said going in, "you've done what should have been done."

Wade led the Heat with 28 points, with Dragic scoring 20 and Richardson 14, on a night foul trouble removed center Hassan Whiteside from the Heat equation.

Ben Simmons led the 76ers with 24 points, eight rebounds and eight assists, with Dario Saric scoring 23 for Philadelphia and Marco Belinelli 16.

The 76ers opened with the smaller lineup that fueled their second-half dominance in Game 1, with Ersan Ilyasova in for Amir Johnson, who had been starting in place of sidelined Joel Embiid.

With Embiid missing his 10th consecutive game with a fractured orbital bone near his left eye, the 76ers rounded out their starting lineup with Saric and Robert Covington along the front line, J.J. Redick and Simmons at guard.

The Heat stayed big, with Whiteside opening at center, flanked by James Johnson and Richardson at forward, Goran Dragic and Tyler Johnson at guard.

The 76ers' lineup presented interesting cross-matches at the outset, with Whiteside opening defensively against Saric, but with Whiteside defended by Ilyasova.

The 76ers, down 16 late in the third period, cut the Heat's lead to 93-85 with 8:58 to play on a Saric 3-pointer, leading to a Heat timeout, with Saric up to eight points in the period by then.

And the 76ers kept coming, a Simmons basket in transition drawing them within 93-87, with a Saric driving layup later pulling Philadelphia within 96-92 with 5:47 to go.

Yet no sooner did Richardson push the Heat to a six-point lead then Simmons scored in transition to again make it a four-point game,

But a Wade dunk in transition pushed the Heat up 100-96, with Wade then assisting James Johnson for a basket that put the Heat up 102-96 and Dragic following up a Heat defensive stop with a short jumper to give the Heat as 104-96 lead.

A basket by Belinelli moved the 76ers back within 104-98.

Ultimately, it left the Heat with the ball up 104-98 with 61 seconds to play.

That's when Wade stepped back with a jumper to put the Heat up 106-98, effectively ending it.

The Heat pushed to a 16-point lead late in the third period, before going into the fourth quarter up 86-75.

Winslow, Whiteside, Simmons and Ilyasova all had four fouls.

The 76ers took the opposite approach to the start of the third quarter than they did in Game 1, when they this time opened the second half with Amir Johnson on the court and Ilyasova on the bench.

With Wade scoring 15 of his 21 first-half points in the second quarter, the Heat stormed to a 56-42 halftime lead, with Wade converting his first seven shots.

The Heat opened the second period with a 16-2 run fueled by Wade and aggressive defensive play from Winslow.

The Heat found themselves in early foul trouble, with Dragic to the bench with his second just 4:35 into the game, with Whiteside following to the bench with his second foul with 3:45 left in the first quarter, followed shortly by Wayne Ellington's second foul.

That had the 76ers parading to the foul line and eventually to a nine-point lead, before the Heat closed within 29-22 at the end of the first quarter.

Because of the foul trouble, the Heat went 11 deep in the opening period, with Rodney McGruder seeing early action.

Whiteside's third foul then came 92 feet from the basket, in the backcourt, with 6:53 left in the second period, forcing him back to the bench. His fourth foul then came early in the third quarter on an illegal screen.

The 76ers won the opener 130-103 Saturday, to extend their overall winning streak to 17, in the highest-scoring playoff game by a Heat opponent.


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