Ben Simmons, 76ers Rout Heat in Game 1 as Joel Embiid Sits with Facial Injury


PHILADELPHIA, PA - APRIL 14:  Ben Simmons #25 of the Philadelphia 76ers handles the ball against the Miami Heat in game one of round one of the 2018 NBA Playoffs on April 14, 2018 at Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2018 NBAE (Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images)

J.J. Redick scored 28 points and Ben Simmons posted a near triple-double (17 points, 14 assists and nine rebounds) as the Philadelphia 76ers beat the Miami Heat 130-103 in Game 1 of their first-round NBA playoff series at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia on Saturday.

With the victory, the 76ers won their 17th straight game dating back to March 15 against the New York Knicks.

Kelly Olynyk scored 26 points off the bench to lead the Miami Heat.

With center Joel Embiid on the bench after the All-Star suffered an orbital fracture and concussion in a March 29 game with the Knicks, the 76ers put on an absolute clinic in the second half. Philadelphia outscored the Heat 74-43 after trailing 60-56 at halftime, with a 20-2 third-quarter run over five minutes and six seconds proving to be the catalyst.

The 76ers’ three-point proficiency was the difference, as they made 18 of their 28 shots from beyond the arc. Redick, Marco Belinelli (25 points) and Dario Saric (20 points) each hit four three-pointers, while Ersan Ilyasova (17 points, 14 rebounds) knocked down three more.

Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer succinctly summed up Redick’s and Belinelli’s performances:

This shooting display by J.J. Redick and Marco Belinelli is absurd.

Redick made eight of his 13 field goals and missed just two-three pointers. Belinelli went 9-of-17 overall and 4-of-7 from deep.

Derek Bodner of The Athletic explained the power of the 76ers’ lineups with four lights-out shooters on the floor:

Neither #sixers point guard, Ben Simmons or Markelle Fultz, can shoot from the perimeter right now, but these 4-out lineups around them have been deadly tonight.

As Bodner noted, Simmons and Fultz aren’t outside shooters at this stage of their careers, but that may not matter—especially with the way the 76ers shot on Saturday. A 64.3 percent three-point rate certainly isn’t sustainable, but Philadelphia showed why it should be considered a strong contender for the Eastern Conference crown.

On the other end, the 76ers defense was strong in the second half (and a stark contrast to a first half in which it gave up 60). Dei Lynam of CSN Philly provided the details:

#Sixers gave up 35 points in first 12 min and 35 in last 20+

Aside from the aforementioned Olynyk, no one else on the Heat really got it going. Goran Dragic scored 15 points but missed 10 of his 14 field goals. James Johnson (13 points) and Dwyane Wade (11) were the only other double-digit scorers for Miami.

The 76ers were also helped by a raucous home crowd that saw its first playoff game since the 2012 season. Lynam quoted 76ers head coach Brett Brown on the matter:

Brett Brown thinks the only other NBA fan base in an arena that competes with the Sixers group is Golden State. Saturday atmosphere was fantastic

Philadelphia is now 31-11 at home this season and will host Miami for Game 2 on Monday at 8 p.m. ET on TNT. Ramona Shelburne quoted Embiid on his thoughts regarding his status:

Joel Embiid said he thinks there’s a “pretty good chance” he’ll be able to play in Game 2 or 3. “If it was my decision I would play, but I can’t get back out on the court if I don’t have the OK from them,” Embiid said. “But everything has been going well.”

Embiid has averaged 22.9 points, 11.0 rebounds and 1.8 blocks this season.


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