Chris Bosh leads the way as Heat take down Sixers in series opener

MIAMI, FL - APRIL 16: Chris Bosh of the Miami Heat with teammates Dwyane Wade and LeBron James against the Philadelphia 76ers at the American Airlines Arena in Game One of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals in the 2011 NBA Playoffs on April 16, 2011 in Miami, Florida. The Heat defeated the 76ers 97-89. (Photo by Marc Serota/Getty Images)

The way this game started was the exact opposite of the what most Heat fans were expecting.  The team that was put together precisely for this reason, to play in the NBA Playoffs, didn't get out to the quick start that they has us all figuring they would.  Philly hit 9 of their first 11 shots en route to a 31 point 1st quarter, holding Dwyane Wade and LeBron James to a combined 1-for-4 in the opening 12 minutes.

The Heat woke up in the 2nd quarter, absolutely dominating play with big contributions from their bench in the form of Joel Anthony, James Jones and Mario Chalmers.  Miami went on a 26-5 run that took them from down by 14 to up by 7, waking up the white hot Heat fans and getting the AAA nice and loud.  Philly was able to stop the bleeding and went into halftime trailing Miami by 5.

There was a bit more defense played in the 3rd quarter then in the previous two, and again it was the Heat going on a nice run to pump up their lead.  This time the run was an 18-7 push by Miami that put them up 78-62 with 90 seconds left in the quarter, but the Sixers were able to close on a little 7-2 run of their own to gain a little momentum and trim the deficit down to 11. 

At the halfway point of the 4th quarter the Heat were back up by 13 following a 3-pointer by James Jones.  Neither team had been playing very well in the final period, and that was about to become a serious problem for Miami.  They went totally cold from the field while Philly began mounting a serious comeback, going on a 12-0 run to get within just 1 point of the Heat with a little over 2 minutes left in the game.

Thankfully Miami was able to put the defensive clamps back on the Sixers, holding them to making 1 of their final 7 shots.  The Heat outscored them 9-2 over the last two minutes to claim Game 1 97-89.  There were some outstanding moments for Miami but there was also some real ugliness in the 1st and 4th quarters that allowed Philadelphia to almost steal this one away. 

GAME NOTES

  • The Heat starting lineup had 299 games of playoff experience while the Sixers had just 29.
  • Chris Bosh had an awesome game, finishing with 25 points and 12 rebounds.  He also went 9-of-11 from the foul line.
  • LeBron James went just 4-of-14 from the field but still managed to score 21 points, thanks mostly to a 13-of-14 day from the charity stripe.  He also led Miami with 14 boards. 
  • It was the 1st time in franchise history that two players making their Heat playoff debut recorded a double double. 
  • Dwyane Wade also had a rough day, scoring 17 points on 6-of-13 shooting, adding 7 rebounds and 5 assists.  He had to sit out a bit during the 4th quarter after picking up his 5th foul. 
  • Mike Miller played just 3 minutes, missing all 3 of his shot attempts before coming out of the game for good.  Afterwards Coach Spo said that Miller was fine and should be good to go for Game 2. 
  • Thaddeus Young had a great game off the Sixers bench, leading them in both points (20) and rebounds (11).  8 of his boards were on the offensive glass. 
  • The Heat won the rebounding battle 52-39.  Miami was 15-0 during the regular season when out-rebounding their opponent by 10 or more. 

Game 2 is Monday night at 7 from the AAA. Until then, enjoy the 1-0 series lead!

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