Tag: 76ers Heat

Philadelphia 76ers v Miami Heat - Game Two

NBA Playoffs: Heat will close out tonight or regret it Sunday


The Miami Heat are going to close out this series tonight.

Sure, in theory in one game anything can happen (the NCAA bases a whole basketball tournament around that theory). Even Burnie (the Heat mascot you didn’t know had a name) will admit this Heat team is fully capable of playing a lazy, terrible game where they can lose to anyone.

But the truth of this series is that when the Heat are focused, when they defending, controlling the tempo and attacking, they are the better team and there is nothing the 76ers can do about it.

And the Heat know this — this is in essence Game 1 of the Celtics series. Miami vs. Boston starts Sunday if the Heat win Wednesday, which means three days of just practice, recuperation and preparation. If Philly wins Game 5, then Game 6 is Friday night and the Celtics series still starts Sunday. One-day turnaround — and the Heat’s home court advantage is virtually wiped. Out. Go to a Game 7 with Philly and Miami’s problems will be bigger than the short turnaround.

What the Heat need to do is get out to a fast start — the stat of the series is that the Sixers starting five has outscored the Heat starting five, 131-102. Not making that up. The Heat thrive when Mario Chalmers and Joel Anthony get on the floor, but Mike Bibby and Zydrunas Ilgauskas are impressing nobody. They need to in Game 5, the Heat need to announce their presence with authority.

Look for the Heat to get a lot of Chris Bosh early then a lot of either Wade or LeBron to follow. Look for them to really crank up the defensive pressure and turn that into a couple fast break opportunities. Look for the Heat to attack the rim and get to the line like they did in the first couple games. Look for them to own the boards.

For Philly, they need to generate some offense early in the clock before the Heat defense gets set, something they have struggled to do much of the series. They will need the injured Andre Iguodala to break out. They will need monster games from Lou Williams and Jrue Holiday to exploit the Heat’s weakness at the point.

In theory all that could happen. In reality, the Heat are the better team and will show it tonight.

Sixers’ Iguodala’s knee pain has been worse than he’s let on

Miami Heat v Philadelphia 76ers - Game Four
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Andre Iguodala has struggled through the playoffs.

The most explosive wing player on Philadelphia has shot just 31.6 percent overall and 25 percent from three. He is averaging only 8.8 points per game. He has looked like a shell of the guy who won gold with Team USA in Turkey last summer. That guy looked at home with the best in the NBA. Granted in the playoffs he had to track guys like LeBron James and Dwyane Wade out on the wings, but the drop-off has been more than that.

It has been his knee.

He admitted to the Philadelphia Daily News just how much it has been bothering him.

The chondromalacia in Iguodala’s right knee, a chronic condition that dates back more than 5 years, flared in mid-March. That’s right about the time Phillies second baseman Chase Utley was shelved with the same condition, possibly for as long as 3 months.

Because the injury flared in March, during the playoff chase, there was not such rest for Iggy. Then in the playoffs he has had the job of being an offensive focal point while dealing with LeBron and Wade. Good luck with that on two good knees.

“It hurts, because you can’t really lift,” Iguodala said. “You go into a jump shot and you feel like it’s going to give at times. You feel a pinch. You don’t know if the pain is going to come back. You’re thinking about it every shot. Every plant. That’s probably the toughest.”

After tonight, despite his and the Sixers best efforts, Iguodala will have a summer to rest that knee (maybe a long summer depending on the lockout). Next season he will be back to his old self. So long as his knee holds up.

Video: Lou Williams dagger three to beat Heat

Miami Heat v Philadelphia 76ers - Game Three

This may have been the pinnacle of the Philadelphia season.

This is a pretty good team overmatched in the first round, but on Sunday they were the team that executed better with the game on the line. Dwyane Wade and LeBron James were missing shots and defending poorly while Jrue Holiday and Lou Williams were simply just making plays. Like this three ball Williams drains over Wade for the win.

Best part of this three — the crowd reaction.

NBA Playoffs: Philly earns itself one more game this season. One.

Miami Heat v Philadelphia 76ers - Game Four

If you believed in conspiracy theories, you could say that Miami is going to make a lot of extra money out of the extra home date for a Game 5 Tuesday.

We’re not that guy. We think Miami came out flat as a lot of teams do up 3-0 and let the Philadelphia hang around then at the end of the game the Sixers best players out executed the Heat’s best and they get the win.

It means there will be a Game 5 Tuesday night. And that will be the end of the series. Make no mistake the Heat will show up focused for that one at home and overwhelm the 76ers as they did the first couple games.

But for one game, the Sixers had their day. They played harder, they executed better at the end.

Philadelphia raced out to a 14-4 lead showing off one of the little secrets of this series — the Philly starters have outplayed the Sixers starters. It’s true (they were +25 for the series through the first quarter of this game). Plus Mike Bibby was taking more shots than Lebron James, and that is a bad sign.

But as you expect, the Heat crawled back and were up 6 with 90 seconds to go and you thought the sweep was on. But the Sixers played with pride — give them credit for not rolling over.

Kneejerk reaction everywhere is to climb all over LeBron for missing the game-tying shot late, but as Tom Haberstroh of ESPN’s Heat Index tweeted, you can lay this one at Dwyane Wade’s feet.

One minute left, Spoelstra runs the Wade-LeBron pick-and-roll. Wade had LeBron posted up on Jrue (Holiday), but couldn’t get him the pass…

On other end, Wade relaxes on defense and Jrue drills a 3-pointer on him…

Next play, Wade clears out, misses fadeaway J. Next play, Lou Williams pulls up for a 25-footer and drills another 3 on Wade…

Really though, Wade was the best of the big three today. Chris Bosh lived on the perimeter (where he is not effective). The Heat’s bigger problems was terrible point guard play from Mike Bibby and Mario Chalmers, which was by-and-large awful.

Holiday took advantage of that. Lou Williams had his moments. Philly played good defense and for one day, one game that was enough.

It’s will not be Tuesday. Miami will want a few days off before taking on Boston starting the following weekend. But for one day Philly showed why they were a pretty good team that made the playoffs this season.

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NBA Playoffs: 76ers playing for pride, Heat for days off

Miami Heat shooting guard Wade and James speak during the second half of Game 2 of their NBA Eastern Conference playoff series in Miami
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This series has played out exactly like the regular season for the Miami Heat.

They overwhelmed lesser teams where they had more talent, the real tests were against the other elite teams where they struggled at times.

The Heat have simply overwhelmed the Philadelphia 76ers on their way to a 3-0 series lead, but the real test is on the horizon with the Boston Celtics. First, however, is the matter of finishing off the 76ers series.

Doug Collins got as much out of this 76ers roster as he could, and they played with pride this season. They are going to try to win one at home, they are not going to just roll over for the Heat.

But the Heat have dominated this series. Completely. Chris Bosh, LeBron James then Dwyane Wade have each dominated a game. The 76ers had gone with a strategy of keeping the ball away from Wade and they still lost, in Game 3 Erik Spoelstra had Wade working off the ball to get free and the result was his big game.

What the Heat have really done is keep the 76ers out of their transition game. In the half court Philly is all Elton Brand — ho had 21 points in Game 3 after a ghost-like Game 2 — and some Jrue Holiday slashing, but the 76ers have to get some easy buckets in transition to have any chance. The Heat have just cut those off this series and controlled the tempo. Made it a half court game. And dominated.

Miami likely will dominate Game 4. The Heat are fully capable of taking a mental game off, turning the ball over and watching the 76ers run away to one win. Like we said, the 76ers will play with pride at home. The outcome of this game will not determine the outcome of the series.

But the Heat would like some days off (rumor is the Miami/Boston series would not start until next weekend) and if they put in another 48 minutes and overwhelm the Sixers there is not much Philly can do about it.