Dwyane Wade scored 28 points off the bench, and Miami Heat defeated the 76ers 113-103 Tuesday night, snapping Philadelphia’s 17 game winning streak and tying the series a one game a piece.
Wade fully immersed himself into the fountain of youth in Game Two, proving he still has some gas left in the tank for the playoff series. The 36-year-old veteran scored 28 points, leading all scorers, in 26 minutes on an 11-16 shooting night.
While it was Dwyane Wade’s efforts that took center stage throughout the game, both teams came out firing to begin Game Two. The Heat started four of five from the field, while the 76ers missed just one additional shot, opening up four of six. This left the game at a 9-8 Heat advantage.But then the offenses suddenly played role reversal, as each side went cold from the field over the next handful of minutes. The 76ers missed six of their next eight shots from the field. The Heat missed eight of nine, as scoring on both sides came grinding to a halt. Nearly eight minutes into the game, the two sides had mustered just 24 combined points, with the 76ers holding a two point lead, 13-11.
The 76ers would stretch the lead to 15-11 as part of a 7-0 run where the Heat failed to score for over three and a half minutes of play. That scoring streak was part of a larger 15-3 run by the 76ers that helped build the Philadelphia lead to nine, their largest of the game, 23-14.
As the quarter came to an end, Dwyane Wade ran off six consecutive Miami points, as the Heat cut the 76ers’ lead to seven, 27-20. Each team would score once more, the Heat grabbing a pair of Kelly Olynyk free throws, and the 76ers getting a bucket from Ersan Ilyasova, to close the quarter out at 29-22.
Those two free throws started what would become an 10-0 run over two periods for the Heat, who captured the lead at 30-28 early in the second quarter. Dating back to that Ilyasova bucket wit just over 45 seconds remaining in the first quarter, the 76ers went on a scoreless streak of over four and half minutes of action. In fact, the 76ers went so cold from the field that they were able to score just two points over a near eight minute stretch. To begin the second quarter, the 76ers shot just 1-10 and turned the ball over five times.
During that scoring drought, Dwyane Wade became the Heat’s oasis, scoring or assisting on 16 of 18 points. This burst was all in part of a larger 20-2 Miami run that saw their lead expand to nine, 40-31. Behind Wade, the Miami bench outscored the 76ers 30-11 in the first half.
After a dazzling showcase of triples in Game One, the 76ers were flat from beyond the arc in Game Two. As a team, Philadelphia just 19 percent from deep, a stark contrast for a team that made 64 percent of its threes three days prior. Despite the poor showing from three, Head Coach Brett Brown said after the game that the team isn’t going to abandon their offensive approach.
“That’s kind of who we are. Some of our guys had rough nights, but to pivot out of it off that one number, I’m not ready to do that. This just highlights, when you’re looking to become a whole team, that you need Joel Embiid,” Brown said.
The Heat would outscore the 76ers in the second frame 34-13, taking a commanding 56-42 lead into the locker room. The 13 point performance was the lowest by the 76ers in any quarter of play this season.
The 76ers jumped out of the gates to begin the second half with an intensity that seemed to be lacking in the first 24 minutes of play. Philadelphia used a 9-2 run to open the third quarter to cut the Heat lead to seven, 58-51. The 76ers were paced throughout the third quarter by Ben Simmons, who finished the quarter with eight of his team-high 24 points. Simmons finished the night 10-17 shooting, picking up nine rebounds and eight assists along the way.
The Heat would respond, as they seemingly did all evening, with a quick 6-2 run of their own to stretch the lead back to double digits, 64-53. Josh Richardson matched Ben Simmons in the third quarter, as he scored eight of his game 14 points out of the break. Later in the quarter, the Heat used a 7-0 run, headlined by a Kelly Olynyk three, to stretch their lead to 16, 81-65.
Philadelphia used one final push to end the frame, taking 10 of the last 15 points, to trim the lead back to 11, 86-75. Coming into this Game Two, the Heat were 14-5 when leading this season on the road going into the fourth quarter, but were just 2-13 in their last 15 road games.
Miami jumped out to a quick 5-0 run less than one minute in to begin the fourth quarter to balloon the lead back to 16, 91-75. The 76es would immediately respond with a scoring streak of their own, producing the game’s next seven points to crawl within single digits, 91-82. That became part of a larger 12-2 run that saw the Miami lead shrink to six, 93-87. Over a seven minute stretch, the Heat managed just five points, as the 76ers got back within a single bucket, down 98-96. During this stretch, Dario Saric was sensational, producing all ten of his fourth quarter points in that span. Saric shot poorly to begin the night, opening up 2-6, but finished strong, picking up 23 points on 8-21 shooting.
Despite having chances late, the 76ers could not capitalize on the the evaporated lead, as a handful of misses from beyond the arc by J.J. Redick and Marco Bellinelli became buckets at the other end for Miami, who scored eight of ten to regrow their lead to eight, 106-98. In the end, the 76ers fell to the Miami Heat 113-103.
The loss snapped the 76ers’ 17 game winning streak that dated back to mid-March. Philadelphia had lost just once since Christmas, to the Indiana Pacers, at the Wells Fargo Center. The series now shifts to Miami, where Games Three and Four will be held, tied at one game each.
Game Three is set for Thursday night from Miami. Tip off is scheduled for 7 p.m. and you can hear all the action on 97.5 The Fanatic!
-By Tyler Zulli, producer and www.975thefanatic.com contributor