Heat close out Sixers and advance to Eastern Conference Semi's

MIAMI, FL - APRIL 27: Dwyane Wade of the Miami Heat scores against the Philadelphia 76ers during game five of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals in the 2011 NBA Playoffs at American Airlines Arena on April 27, 2011 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

All the talk leading up to Game 5 may have been about Miami getting off to a fast start, but their actions certainly spoke louder then their words.  The Heat missed 6 of their first 8 shots while Philly started 6-of-7 from the field, and just like that it Miami found themselves down 14-4 in the opening minutes.  After turning the ball over just 4 total times in the first 4 games of this series, LeBron James give it away on the Heat's first possession, and again a couple minutes later. 

Late in the quarter Miami finally began to get their stuff together.  They went on a 17-2 run, scoring 14 consecutive points to take their first lead of the game.  Mario Chalmers capped off the nice early comeback by hitting his 2nd trey of the game at the end of the 1st.  Rio scored 11 points in the quarter and Miami held the Sixers to just 3 points over the last 5:13, turning a 20-10 deficit into a 27-23 lead after 1.

After going a long long time without being able to hit their shots, Philly began to get their offense going again in the 2nd quarter.  Defensively, they were daring Miami to take outside shots, surrounding the paint with their defenders trying to keep the Heat from scoring down low and getting to the foul line.  The Heat hit just 6-of-27 in the 2nd, taking a 3-point lead into the break.  Over a third of Miami's shots in the 1st half (16 of 45) were from downtown; they made 6-of-16 (37.5%).

Erik Spoelstra finally gave up on his starting lineup, putting Joel Anthony and Mario Chalmers on the floor to begin the 2nd half.  The Heat has played noticeably better with that lineup instead of their starters.  It was a frustrating quarter at times with Spo getting T-ed up after a pair of non-calls on LeBron James.  There wasn't a ton of contact on either play, but a foul is a foul.  Miami still managed to put up some points, going on a late 12-2 run to take a 5-point lead into the final 12 minutes. 

A Dwyane Wade triple gave the Heat a 10-point lead early in the 4th, but Philly continued to battle back, keeping the deficit at single digits for the majority of the game.  Miami was actually playing very solid D as the clock winded down but the Sixers were hitting their mid-range jumpers.  The Heat led by as many as 8 with under 5 minutes left, but that was trimmed down to just two in the final minute.

Miami wasn't going to shoot themselves in the foot tonight, hitting all their free throws in the final minutes.  That included a pair by Chris Bosh and Joel Anthony with under a minute left, but an ill-advised technical foul by Dwyane Wade kept the Sixers down by just three instead of keeping it a two possession game.  Miami forced a miss by Andre Iguodala and D-Wade hit a free throw that put Miami up by 4, and that was that.  Bring on the Celtics. 

GAME NOTES

  • This was the 47th straight playoff sellout for the Heat. 
  • Miami took and made more triples then any other game in this series, going 12-of-30 from downtown (40%)
  • Mario Chalmers went 6-for-12 from beyond the arc, finishing with 20 points off the bench.  He became the first player other then Wade, Bosh or LeBron to score 20 points. 
  • Chris Bosh finished with 22 points and 11 boards.  He hadn't recorded a 20-10 night since Game's 1 and 2. 
  • Even tough he had a somewhat forgettable night, LeBron still came just 2 assists shy of a triple double.  He finished with 16 points, 10 boards and 8 assists. 
  • Dwyane Wade led all scorers with 26 points and tied Chris Bosh for the team lead in rebounds with 11.  He also had 7 assists, a steal and a block. 
  • The Heat continued their dominance on the offensive glass, grabbing 15 boards off their own misses. 
  • Miami scored 25 4th quarter points while only making 5 of their 17 field goals, but they helped themselves out by hitting 13-of-16 from the charity stripe.
  • Joel Anthony was again huge off the bench.  He hit a pair of huge free throws in the final minute and provided his usual stellar defense.  He finished with 4 points (all free throws), 5 rebounds and a pair of blocks. 

Now the Heat will get a few days off before starting their 2nd round series against the Boston Celtics.  Game 1 will be on Sunday at the AAA and will tipoff at 3:30. 

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