If you watched any of the regular season meetings between the Philadelphia 76ers and the Miami Heat, you were expecting some competitive basketball at Wells Fargo Center on Saturday night. And if you were not rooting for the home team, you probably walked away disappointed.
The Sixers defeated the Heat 130-103 to take a 1-0 series lead in the first round of the NBA Playoffs. Philadelphia used a big second half with a barrage of 3-pointers to pull away for its 17th consecutive victory.
The 76ers shot 18-for-28 from beyond the arc, setting a franchise record for most 3-pointers in a playoff game. The 64.3 percent shooting is the highest for the Sixers in any playoff game in which the team attempted more than six 3-pointers.
Once again, it was J.J. Redick that led the way for the 76ers. He finished with 28 points on just 13 shot attempts while making four shots from deep. Redick left the court early with an injury scare but quickly shook it off to put together a big performance. It was his second-highest scoring performance in the playoffs in his career.
Marco Belinelli was brought off the bench first for the Sixers because of Redick going down early. He led the team with 13 points in the first half but was certainly not quiet in the second half. Belinelli finished with a playoff career-high 25 points. He attempted a team-high 17 shots and made nine of them, including four 3-pointers.
The sharp shooting power forwards did not let the guards take all the fun though. Dario Saric continued to look good after a slow comeback from his injury last week. He finished with 20 points on Saturday night while knocking down four 3-pointers. Ersan Ilyasova made three triples of his own and finished with 17 points and 14 rebounds. It was Ilyasova’s third career double-double in the playoffs.
Ben Simmons continued to be in control of the team during his playoff debut. He finished with 17 points, 14 assists and 9 rebounds. The rookie only made five of his 13 shot attempts from the field but his 7-for-10 performance from the free throw line helped make up for it. Simmons turned the ball over five times in the first half but did not cough the ball up in the final two quarters, which was a big part of the team’s surge in the second half.
In the first half, the Sixers struggled to get much offense going. Philadelphia shot just 38.8 percent from the floor while the Heat, and the referees’ whistles, slowed down the pace of the game. The hosts were able to stay in the game because of their 3-point shooting though. The 76ers knocked down seven of 13 attempts from deep in the first two quarters.
Brett Brown wanted to capitalize on that shooting with a smaller lineup to start the second half. Ilyasova took the place of Amir Johnson and the Sixers continued to hit from the outside. The veteran forward was one of three players to knock down a 3-pointer for Philadelphia in the first four minutes of the third quarter. Ilyasova finished with 10 points on 4-for-4 shooting in the quarter and helped extend the lead to 12 points going into the fourth quarter.
Redick continued the hot shooting for the Sixers in the final 12 minutes. He scored six points in the first 50 seconds and scored 15 of his points in the fourth quarter. Philadelphia outscored Miami by 27 when Redick was on the court in the second half.
The Sixers outscored the Heat 74-43 in the second half. Philadelphia shot 56.5 percent from the field and made 11 of 15 3-point attempts during that span.
Robert Covington did not record a steal but he made his presence known on the defensive end on Saturday. He finished with three blocks to go along with his nine points, seven rebounds and four assists.
Markelle Fultz looked comfortable in his playoff debut. The rookie point guard had four assist to zero turnovers and added five points of his own in 13 minutes on the court.
The series will resume on Monday night with the Sixers hosting Miami for Game 2 of the series. The game is scheduled to tip off at 8 p.m. ET and will be televised on TNT and NBCSP.