For the first time since 2012, the Philadelphia 76ers are in the NBA playoffs. They are taking on the Miami Heat in the first round, and this is a recap of game one.
Quarter 1: The Heat started out hot, and took an early lead. J.J Redick left very early, giving the Sixers a scare, but returned later in the quarter. A Simmons slam started a Sixers comeback, and brought the game within a couple of possessions. Veteran leadership by Dwayne Wade was apparent, and Kelly Olynyk carried the load for the Heat. The quarter ended with the Heat leading 35-29.
Quarter 2: The Sixers went on a big run, 12-3, and reclaimed the lead. Heat All-Star Goran Dragic struggled and shot terribly. The referees made some questionable calls, and a lack of calls for the Sixers. The “refs you suck” chants came from the Wells Fargo Center faithful. The Miami Heat’s kryptonite of Philadelphia, Tyler Johnson, was given limited minutes (9 minutes), along with Hassan Whiteside (8 minutes), a mistake by Coach Spoelstra. The score at the half, 60-56 Heat.
Quarter 3: The Sixers came out of the half red hot, with a 10-0 run before Coach Spoelstra called a timeout to attempt to regroup. The run continued to a 23-5 run. Miami went 5 minutes without a field goal. As soon as Dwayne Wade came in, the leadership was noticed. The run stopped, shortly. Simmons emphatically slammed the ball home to give the sixers a 81-69 lead and himself 14 points, 8 assists and 7 rebounds with 4 minutes left in the 3rd. The 3rd quarter favored the Sixers 34-18. Sixers lead at the end of 3, 90-78.
Quarter 4: The Sixers came out aggressive and drew fouls. The three point shooters continued to do their job and the heavy lifting for the Sixers, while Amir Johnson beasted and feasted on the offensive glass. This game got out of hand and the Sixers came out with the win, 130-103.
Summary: The 76ers came away with the tough fought victory. For the Heat, Olynyk carried the load with 23 points and played fantastic. For the hometown Sixers, Redick, Ersan, Saric and Belinelli all shot amazing. They hit a franchise playoff record 16 3 point shots. Simmons did a great job of feeding the shooters, and bringing momentum with his ferocious slams. All of the 3-point shooters for the 76ers are my co-MVPs of this game. J.J lead the way and finished with 28 points (23 in the 2nd half), shooting 62%, 4/6 from the 3-point line, and 8/8 from the free throw line. Marco Belinelli finished with 25 points while shooting 4/7 from three and 53% all together. Dario finished 4/6 from the 3-point line, and 20 points. Ersan Finished with 17 points and 14 rebounds. The Sixers look to carry this momentum into game 2, and possibly sweep the heat.
Written by: Jake Gratzinger