The Philadelphia 76ers host the Miami heat yet again on Monday night. The second contest of this series starts at 7:00 central. The 76ers went 52-30 on the season, good enough for the 3 seed. Meanwhile, the Heat went 44-38, earning them a 6 seed. Philadelphia comes into this game favored at -6.5
Game 1 of the series started out like many cynics of the young 76ers thought it would. Ben Simmons made many of the rookie mistakes that many thought he would. He also began the game making only 1 of his first 6 shots. However, the rookie jitters eventually calmed down.
Many predicted that Game 1 would be determined by the style of play the game trended toward. The 76ers, it appeared, would succeed if the game trended toward a faster, transition-heavy, pace. However, the game was played mostly in the half-court. And it was in the half-court, surprisingly, that the 76ers shined.
76ers: Run, Run, Run
J.J. Redick shot 62% from the field; plus Ersan Illyasova and Marco Bellineli combined for a ridiculous 64% from 3 in game 1. While these performances mainly helped to pad their lead to above 20, the 76ers cannot expect similar stats in game 2. The 76ers must make Miami run the floor in the second contest. Ben Simmons absolutely excels at passing in transition, and Redick should get some opportunities for some wide open looks from downtown.
I think that Philadelphia can use their game 1 performance to their advantage in their second game. After the shooting performance from Philadelphia’s guards in game 1, Miami will have to key in on defending the perimeter. The Heat might want to consider using a smaller lineup for a significant portion of the game. If Philadelphia can shoot the ball well early, look for them to get some good opportunities inside.
Heat: Fool Me Once
Miami came into game 1 with their play making their main goal clear: Slow down the game. The Heat were able to get forward James Johnson and center Hassan Whiteside going early, but the Heat did not do nearly a good enough job defending on the perimeter. Anybody who knows the game isn’t going to expect players to shoot 60+% for consecutive games. However, the 76ers have shown that their smaller guards are able to perform on the big stage. The Heat will have to show their ability to defend those guards if they want to chance at winning.
I see the first quarter or two of this second game being close. Miami’s guards will be able to contest enough shots to quiet down the three-point barrage, but eventually Philadelphia will run them out of the stadium. Look for Simmons to find players for easy buckets in 2-on-1 and 3-on-2 fast breaks. When Miami focuses on getting in front, Redick will be able to spot up and hit some open threes. Take the favored Philadelphia 76ers at -6.5
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