The Miami Heat started off strong with James Johnson once again drawing first blood and Dragic getting on the board early. The Heat offense looked a lot more refined, with the team making good decisions instead of forcing too much. Goran was awesome to start, but got into foul trouble really early and had to come out. This took the Heat out of their offensive flow.
Defense continued to be a problem for the Heat as Philly went at them early. Hassan did a solid job protecting the paint and forcing Philly to shoot from beyond the arc. Unfortunately for the Heat, the Sixers are really good at shooting threes. Marco Belinelli scored some crazy looks and left the Heat flabbergasted. It also didn’t help that the Heat racked up fouls incredibly, quickly. Approaching the 3 minute mark the Heat had 7 fouls and the Sixers had none.
Still the Heat struggled to get in sync on offense, forcing the reserves to pick up slack. Wade got going right away scoring multiple buckets and closing the gap a little. He also worked to get other players involved.
Wade continued to kill it, reaching into his bag of tricks to do everything. He even got Hassan going a little bit with a beautiful lob.
The foul calls equaled out a bit, with Philly taking the brunt of them. They also cooled off from beyond the arc, presenting the Heat a golden opportunity to strike.
It was Dwyane Wade who led the charge for the Heat, scoring on offense, causing turnovers on defense and just wreaking havoc all over the place. Oh how I missed playoff DWade. He’d go 7-8 and pass Larry Bird for the no. 10 spot on the all-time scoring postseason list.
Miami also picked it up on defense, turning turnovers into buckets on the other end. The Heat showed a lot of energy on both ends allowing them to steal the lead on a 20-2 run.
Miami was incredibly chippy on defense, especially Winslow (there are some quality gifs floating around) While it resulted in some foul calls, it also messed with Philly mentally so…worth it.
Philly would pull it back somewhat towards the end of the half, but this quarter belonged to the Heat.
Amir Johnson drew first blood to start the second half, as he tried to start a Philly run. Whiteside would get his fourth foul early and head to the bench. Josh Richardson did his best to keep the game out of reach, scoring a three, an and 1 and being a complete nuisance on defense. James Johnson would also make up for a few bad passes by being aggressive at the rim and working hard on defense.
Tyler Johnson found room to contribute, scoring on a few great looks and slashing to the rim with aggression. The whole roster was contributing, but some missed looks and rushed shots gave Philly chances to creep in. They’d work their way back into single digits often, but the Heat would work hard to keep things relatively spaced out.
Miami’s resilience in this quarter was impressive. For every punch that Philly dished out, the Heat punched back. Whether that appeared in Richardson blocks or Dragic drives the energy was evident.
Wade came back in around the 3 minute mark and continued where he left off in the second. Miami’s offensive decision making was fantastic. Kelly was taking good shots, Ellington got involved once again. This was the best third quarter from the Heat in a while.
Miami continued their aggression with a Wayne trey to start the fourth that was quickly followed up by a James Johnson slam. Philly stayed within striking distance with Ilyasova and Saric trimming the lead down to single digits.
The game quickly became a back and forth battle between the two teams, with Philly ramping up the pace significantly. While Miami’s defense was solid, their shot selection under pressure was questionable. This created openings for the Sixers who brought things back within four.
Philly did not back down, bringing things within two. Luckily, the Heat would deliver on some clutch plays (both offensively and defensively) to keep the Heat ahead.
Not enough can be said about Wade’s play tonight. The Heat were drowning and Wade made a huge steal to keep them afloat and regain the lead. He is the definition of clutch.
As the game entered the final minutes, Philly delivered one last push with Belinelli leading the charge. He’d get one to go, but a terrible pass that flew through Redick’s legs would end things for Philly. Wade would call an iso on the other end to shove the dagger in Philly and a series of free throws and a Kelly steal would end this one. A great Heat win.