Joe B.

Miami HEAT at Philadelphia 76ers Game 2 Thread and Preview

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Photo Credit: David Dow

The Miami HEAT face the Philadelphia 76ers Monday night at Wells Fargo Center in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference First Round. Philadelphia leads the series 1-0. Tip-off is set for 8:00 PM. Television coverage on FOX Sports Sun begins at 7:30 PM. You can also listen to the action live on 790 The Ticket.

1: What led to the 76ers’ second-half run on their way to a Game 1 victory?

Couper Moorhead: Sixers coach Brett Brown made a smart adjustment at halftime – the type of adjustment some coaches wait a game or two to make – by starting Ersan İlyasova in place of Amir Johnson. That effectively gave the 76ers a frontcourt of İlyasova and Dario Šarić, four shooters all running screening actions around Ben Simmons, who had no trouble finding his guys. All that shooting stretched out Miami’s defense to its limits, forcing all of the HEAT’s centers on to the perimeter, but Brown noted after the game that the switch also had the benefit of putting Johnson, a long and intelligent defender, on Kelly Olynyk when Miami went to its bench. Philadelphia still had to make their shots, but they were getting many of the shots they wanted with those lineups. The HEAT’s challenge now is managing all those screening actions better so those shooters aren’t getting comfortable catches.

The 76ers also deserve credit for dialing up their defense, particularly Robert Covington. They were swiping at balls and getting in passing lanes, which helped keep the HEAT’s offense a little off balance. Miami still found open shots for their own shooters with elaborate bunch screens, which led to a few looks at the rim once the defense crept toward the arc.

Joe Beguiristain: Simply put, the 76ers went bonkers in the second half and shot 56.5 percent after halftime thanks to crisp ball movement, effective screens and smart play design by Brett Brown. While J.J. Redick and Marco Belinelli led the team in scoring, Dario Šarić continued to be a thorn in Miami’s side.

On the flip side of the ball, Philadelphia’s length was very tough for the HEAT to circumnavigate. In fact, the 76ers wound up with 13 deflections and 21 loose balls recovered on the night. As Coup mentioned above, Robert Covington really made his presence felt defensively and held his assignments to just 2-of-8 shooting and three turnovers. If the average NBA fan didn’t know much about the 27-year-old out of Tennessee State entering Game 1, they do now.

One of the bright spots for Miami on Saturday night was Kelly Olynyk, who led the team with 26 points on 9-of-13 shooting and provided a spark off the bench in the first half. As a whole, Miami’s reserves fared better than the starters, so hopefully the first unit can get things rolling in Game 2.

J.J. Redick2: What will Miami have to defend better?

Couper: The HEAT’s defensive rating of 127.8 in this one isn’t going to please anyone, but there was a bit of a snowball effect in the second half that led to those inflated numbers. Tyler Johnson said after the game that even though they did well to limit the 76ers’ transition opportunities – they had just four fast-break points – Philadelphia still got to plenty of early offense, springing guys open with quick-hitting screens and cuts away from the ball. And once a few of those threes started falling, they got beat backdoor to the rim when they were looking for the three. It’s nothing Miami hasn’t defended and defended well before, but the reality is that the 76ers run a very taxing offense for anyone to defend. The can punish any mistake, and they run so much with purpose that you have to be on point throughout the possession. That is certainly something this team is capable of, but their opponent isn’t going to let them off the hook.

Joe: This one is pretty simple: the three-point line.

In Game 1, the 76ers shot an unreal 18-of-28 from deep (64.3 percent) and really caught fire in the second half. Again, Redick and Belinelli wreaked havoc from downtown, but Ben Simmons did a great job of either getting the offense set or assisting those guys himself. That said, James Johnson actually defended Simmons pretty well in the first half and did his best to limit the rookie as much as possible.

At the end of the day, the HEAT just need to be quicker with their rotations. Although it’s tough with the way Philadelphia moves on offense, Miami has a lot of good defensive habits that it could use to combat that. When the HEAT were operating smoothly and contesting shots on Saturday, they had success. In fact, the 76ers shot just 19-of-49 (38.8 percent) on contested looks as opposed to 26-of-46 (56.5 percent) on uncontested shots.

We’ll see if Miami can right the ship in Game 2.

3: Which matchups proved most striking to you so far?

Couper: We mentioned this in the series preview but the 76ers size, especially on the perimeter, is one of their primary advantages in this series. They put Covington on Goran Dragić and Ben Simmons on Josh Richardson, using all that length to stymie drives to the rim as the two players combined to shoot 5-of-21. Those aren’t matchups the HEAT are going to want to attack in isolation – they’ll have to beat that size with precise execution and good timing with their actions. Even then, the 76ers can always switch just about anything they want to switch, but the HEAT did show an ability to take advantage of that at times forcing the defense to switch two, three or four times in a matter of seconds. The good news is that James Johnson and Justise Winslow did reasonably well keeping Simmons away from the rim, with some transition exceptions, despite how well Simmons was playing, so that strategy of playing off of rim worked well enough.

Joe: Since I’ve already touched on most of the matchups in my previous responses, I want to get into Justise Winslow. You may think he had just an average game when looking at his numbers on the surface, but his defense was pretty solid.

How so?

Well, the 22-year-old held his assignments (Simmons, Šarić, Belinelli, Markelle Fultz and Ersan İlyasova) to just 6-of-16 shooting from the field, including an impressive 3-of-10 at the rim.

That kind of versatility from Winslow will be very important for the HEAT moving forward.

Highlights:

Game 1: HEAT at 76ers

Game Notes:

  • Kelly Olynyk's 26 points in Game 1 was the most by any player off the bench in postseason franchise history.
  • Four HEAT players scored in double-figures in Game 1.
  • Joel Embiid (orbital bone fracture, left eye) is out.

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Game 1 was a freaking wakeup call. They can't come into the game, too confident and complacent. They're playing against a very talented team, deep team. We all know they don't have as much talent, but they did not reach this point through that alone, but mostly with a lot of effort. So, to have their effort questioned in game 1, that was unacceptable. But it's game 1. For game 2, effort needs a lot of amping up, and schemes need to be a lot better.

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I know this is a commentary on the Cavs-Pacers series, but check out 02:10 onwards and see Chuck question why Nance is guarding Oladipo.

 

It's probably the reason why he's not getting minutes, and add the fact that he isn't 100% engaged.

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So if this were boxing, game 1 would've been a 10-8 round for the Sixers, as they hit us with a haymaker in the 3rd quarter that we never recovered from.  But as DWade said after game 1, you only get 1 win for that game.  We have to forget that 2nd half from game one....our goal of stealing home court is still achievable with some minor adjustments from our guys.  

I think the first thing to address is the defense.  In my opinion, it wasn't horrible...Philly was just on fire!  They really fed off of their crowd - especially in the second half (the dunk by Simmons in the 3rd where he crossed KO really got their momentum going and they never looked back).  JRich pointed out after the game that he felt as if they could've done a better job coming around screens, and I agree.  Although switching seems like an idea that could help if the hot shooting carries over.

The coverage on Simmons is another area of concern.  By the way, can we can stop with the "he's not all that" stuff...dude is special with the way he's able to dissect a defense - as a fan of BASKETBALL, he's fun to watch (not to mention the athleticism)....but he must be stopped!  Winslow and JJ are the men for the job.  I don't think you can cover Simmons one way - he's too good.  I think Spo should mix up the coverage the way you would against a talented QB.....you have to mix in the blitzes (tight coverage/ball pressure) with the zones (playing off of him).  I think Winslow is best suited for the "blitz" coverage.  His quickness and ability to move his feet are an asset, and his tenacity is something that I could see really frustrating a young Simmons.  

Second biggest area of concern for me is how to get GoGo going.  He obviously has trouble against the Sixers length, so maybe getting him involved in some screen actions or something could free him.  Giving him the ball at the top of the key and asking him to do his normal thing against these trees hasn't worked, and won't work.  I also think him and KO in the PNR is something that could give Philly some problems.

Last thing is I think moving Winslow into the starting lineup for TJ has to happen.  Have him on Simmons from the jump, with JJ on Saric.  I'm undecided on who we should actually start at center....If Sixers go with Ilyasova, I'd still stay with Whiteside and see if we could exploit our mismatch....but I'd have KO on stand by in case of #badHassan.  

I know the regular season doesn't matter anymore, or so I've heard lol, but I've seen this team respond well when they sh## the bed the way they did in game 1, so I'm expecting a much better performance in game 2.  

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7 minutes ago, Retro_MDR255 said:

Dragic Richardson James Johnson, Olynyk, Whiteside.Time to switch it up.

should be Bam instead of Whitey.. he'll be running around chasing Ilyasova from outside he won't be able to catch up he's too slow! :lol:

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30 minutes ago, TRIPLEA2TOOTSIES said:

So if this were boxing, game 1 would've been a 10-8 round for the Sixers, as they hit us with a haymaker in the 3rd quarter that we never recovered from.  But as DWade said after game 1, you only get 1 win for that game.  We have to forget that 2nd half from game one....our goal of stealing home court is still achievable with some minor adjustments from our guys.  

 

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More like 10-7, with 2 knock downs and the Heat were saved by the bell.

I hope to see the Heat bully-ball their way to a W.

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I think you gotta go one on one defense with Simmons. The moment you decide to help, he will find the open man. He's surrounded by shooters. He has the ability to make those passes. If Simmons scores, he scores. It's not like he's shooting 3s like Curry/Harden. And with Embiid coming back, that makes things even more difficult. Really hope Hassan is engaged early on.

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1 hour ago, Rileysrighthand said:

should be Bam instead of Whitey.. he'll be running around chasing Ilyasova from outside he won't be able to catch up he's too slow! :lol:

Gotta play Hassan otherwise he's going to be sulking in the bench all series long. Unfortunately Hassan isn't mature enough to take being benched very well. But you play on him with a short leash. If he isn't rebounding or closing down their shooters sub him out asap. Frankly the whole team has to do a better job closing down their shooters and tracking their cuts. A lot of possesions they were ball watching Simmons instead of tracking their man defensively.

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I think all you guys have picked apart the Heat really well, pointing out all their problems and needs for this game. Good points all.

But, I think this team just needs to play a good overall game. Key guys like Whiteside, Dragic, JRich and TJ all have to show up and play well on both ends of the floor and do it for the whole game. Sixers are going to make their runs and Simmons will affect the game too, but the Heat have to counter with runs of their own...consistent shooting, defense and energy. Philly is a good team on a 17 game win streak. Can't deny they are on a roll. But the Heat are capable of snapping that streak and Monday night is as good a night as any to do it. It's time for the Heat to have one of their best games of the season and jolt this series into another gear. #HeatCulture

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Like I said before in the Game 1 thread: We are a team that has some formidable youngsters and a mix of veterans in a team work, however we don't have a TRUE chosen one who can take that go-to-guy role and push the tempo on offense to pressure the defense. 

I mean, for example Goran Dragic is anything else than a real field general who can push the tempo faster than at his aging pace,..... which is not enough to truly pressure the defense hard enough in the clutch.............

Every game is a REAL test, there are no weak opponents in the playoffs, it's either FOCUS, GRIND, EXECUTE or,..... go home. If we can win Game 3 and 4 at home, there might still be a tiny spark.................

Other than that, J-Rich, Justise, James Johnson, Kelley Olynik, D-Wade and the rest of the team,........ regain your FOCUS and fight back in game 2,..................

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12 hours ago, TRIPLEA2TOOTSIES said:

The coverage on Simmons is another area of concern.  By the way, can we can stop with the "he's not all that" stuff...dude is special with the way he's able to dissect a defense - as a fan of BASKETBALL, he's fun to watch (not to mention the athleticism

yes his fun too watch, but cmon man, he called himself "special"... that is an obvious sign of someone who is not... he has a knack for dissecting defenses and a fun athlete to watch but I Mitchell is more dominating

 

13 hours ago, SG-Three said:

Game 1 was a freaking wakeup call. They can't come into the game, too confident and complacent. They're playing against a very talented team, deep team. We all know they don't have as much talent, but they did not reach this point through that alone, but mostly with a lot of effort. So, to have their effort questioned in game 1, that was unacceptable. But it's game 1. For game 2, effort needs a lot of amping up, and schemes need to be a lot better.

this

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Getting real close to game 2. Really excited for a Heat bounce back game, especially with Five.ohh's endorsement of a Heat W. rock-on-smiley-emoticon.gif

 

 

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      Photo Credit: Issac Baldizon
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    • By Joe B.

      Photo Credit: Issac Baldizon
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      Game 2 – HEAT at 76ers
      Game Notes:
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