A clearly exhausted Miami Heat fell 106-102 to the Philadelphia Sixers, who grabbed a commanding three games to one advantage in the first round of the playoff series.
Trailing 83-73 with a minute 1:19 left in third period, Philadelphia scored 14 unanswered points to grab a four-point 87-83 lead, which turned out to be the final margin of victory.
In the all-important fourth quarter an exhausted Goran Dragic played all 12 minutes without scoring a single point and committing 3 fouls, while Josh Richardson made one basket in his 12 minutes of action.
Dwyane Wade with 5 of Miami’s 8 field goals, good for 12 of the Heat’s 19 points in the final quarter, tried to single-handedly will the team to a victory, as he got the Heat within a point at 102-101 with 43.9 seconds remaining.
Hassan Whiteside made a difference with 13 points on 6 of 9 shooting and 13 rebounds in his best outing of the series.
Richardson had only 10 points, but 7 steals energized the Heat and contributed to the 76ers committing 26 turnovers.
While Philadelphia outrebounded Miami by a 57 to 43 margin, the Heat made more field goals, 41 to 36, and took more attempts, 94-84, than Philadelphia.
The winning edge came at free throw line where the Heat was outscored by a 14 point margin 27 to 13, in other words, Miami beat Philadelphia 89 to 79 on field goal attempts.
Kelly Olynyk played only 9 minutes without a basket, which also showed up in only 7 made 3-pointers for the entire team, as players not named Wayne Ellington attempted 13 treys, with only 4 of them dropping.
If this series only counted the first halves, Miami would be up 4 games to none, but the contests last 48 minutes.
In the Heat’s only win, the Heat went 11 players deep, as Rodney McGruder played 5 minutes holding his opponents to 0-5 from the perimeter, and Dragic spent only 25 productive minutes on the court with a +11 rating.
Miami’s game plan hasn’t changed over the four games in spite of the Heat holding their own in the first half and a physically and mentally tired team failing to hold leads in the second, especially the last quarter.