J.J. Redick scored 27 points, and the 76ers defeated the Miami Heat 104-91 Tuesday night, closing out the first round series in five games.
For the third time in the five game series, J.J. Redick paced the 76ers in scoring, dropping 27 points on 6-13 shooting, including 5-10 from beyond the arc. It was Redick who got the game’s scoring going on the 76ers’ first possession, knocking down his first three point attempt of the night. Despite firing the opening salvo of Game Five, scoring did not come easily for the 76ers early in the opening quarter. Philadelphia missed seven consecutive field goal attempts, going on a scoring drought of nearly three minutes, and a bucket scarcity for nearly four. The Miami Heat were equally as woeful from the floor to open the contest, connecting on just one of their first five shots.
Following this stretch of poor offensive play, the 76ers scored five consecutive points in quick fashion to open up an early six point lead, 13-7. Ben Simmons scored three of his game 14 points in this short burst. He added 10 rebounds for another playoff double-double.
The Heat immediately respond, connecting for eight straight of their own, claiming a 15-13 lead.After four straight points from Amir Johnson, giving the 76ers a 17-15 advantage, the Heat turned around and collected six consecutive points, recapturing the lead 21-19. Despite the poor shooting performances by both teams, it was an entertaining, back-and-forth quarter of basketball.
At the end of one, the 76ers led 23-21.
The two teams reemerged onto the floor for the second quarter with an uptick in aggression. The two began to shoot the ball better in the second frame, despite the 76ers struggling from deep, shooting just 2-8 from beyond the arc.The Heat bench played a pivotal role in Game Five’s second quarter, scoring 16 of the team’s 25 points. Midway through the second quarter, the Miami bench was outscoring its starters 23-9.
For the 76ers, Joel Embiid began to find his rhythm midway through the frame after seeming a bit out of sync in the previous few games. Embiid finished the quarter with five of his 19 points. He added 12 rebounds, recording his first double-double in a home playoff game.
Miami found itself on a 5-0 spurt midway through the period, picking up all five points at the free throw line and taking a two point lead, 36-34. This was part of a larger 9-2 run that saw the Miami lead get up to four, 40-36.
The half came to a close with both teams still struggling to find consistency, as the two battled it out to numerous lead changes through the first 24 minutes of play. At the end of the first half, Dario Saric had failed to get into the scoreboard, as had three different Miami Heat starters. After two quarters of play, the two sides were deadlocked at 46.
Early in the third quarter, emotions began to flare up once more, as they had several times earlier in the series. After Ben Simmons stole the ball from Goran Dragic, Simmons went on a break, being trailed by Dragic. After Dragic caught Simmons, he smacked him in the back of the head as the whistle blew. Dragic was given a technical foul, but the raucous crowd inside the Wells Fargo Center was not pleased with the decision, staking vocal claim for a flagrant foul call that never came.
The 76ers began to pull away midway through the third quarter, as they used an 11-0 run to gain distance on the Heat, 57-48. J.J. Redick collected six of those 11 points as part of the eight he would score in third quarter. This scoring outburst was part of a larger 20-6 Philadelphia run that opened up a 12 point lead, 66-54, the largest of the game to that point for the 76ers. Over that stretch, the Heat went over three minutes without a bucket, scoring just twice from the free throw line.
Later in the frame, the 76ers went on another run, this time a smaller one, but one to separate themselves further, nonetheless. As the quarter closed out, Philadelphia scored ten of 13 points, grabbing an 18 point lead. As the third quarter closed, the 76ers had outscored the Heat 34-20, extending their lead to 14, 80-66. With the second round just 12 minutes from their grasps, the 76ers looked to finish off the Miami Heat.
Philadelphia jumped out to a 7-3 run to open the final frame in an attempt to bury Miami. This quick run extended the 76ers lead to 18 once more, 87-69. Then, Miami started to come alive from beyond the arc. Tyler Johnson connected on a pair of threes on consecutive trips, shrinking the Philadelphia lead to 12. These two triples were part of a Heat 10-0 run that saw the 76ers’ lead deplete to eight, 87-79. While the Heat were scoring, the 76ers found trouble connecting on anything, as they went four minutes without points and over five minutes without a field goal. Philadelphia opened the frame 3-11 from the field through the first nine minutes of play. After making two of their first three shots, the 76ers missed seven of eight from the field.
But Philadelphia soon found themselves out of their shooting funk, taking a 8-2 run, helped, in part, to a pair of threes on consecutive trips from Marco Bellinelli and J.J. Redick. This stretch helped the 76ers regrow their lead to 13, 102-89. Each team would score two more points, as the 76ers defeated the Miami Heat 104-91.
The win gives the 76ers a 4-1 series victory, as the Miami Heat are officially eliminated from the playoffs. The series win was the first for Philadelphia since the 76ers defeated the Chicago Bulls in 2012. The 76ers now await the winner of the Boston Celtics/Milwaukee Bucks series. Boston took a 3-2 series advantage after defeating Milwaukee Tuesday night 92-87. If the Celtics win that series, Games One and Two of the semifinals will be in Boston. Should the Bucks win the final two games, the 76ers would host the opening two games at the Wells Fargo Center.
Regardless of which team the 76ers face in the next round, you’ll be able to hear every second of the action on 97.5 The Fanatic!
-By Tyler Zulli, producer and www.975thefanatic.com contributor