Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid certainly aren’t acting like playoff first-timers Deion Sanders Jersey Limited , and JJ Redick provided the veteran leadership that Philadelphia so desperately needed.
The 76ers might very well be the NBA’s team of the future.
And that future might be starting sooner than many envisioned.
Simmons was the first rookie to since Magic Johnson in 1980 to have a playoff triple-double, Redick led Philadelphia with 24 points and the 76ers moved one win from the second round by topping the Miami Heat 106-102 on Saturday to take a 3-1 lead in their Eastern Conference first-round series.
”I’m shocked that we won this game,” 76ers coach Brett Brown said. ”We really didn’t have a right to win the game.”
Here’s why he said that: His team turned the ball over 27 times, shot 7 for 31 from 3-point range and trailed by 12 late in the third quarter in an extremely hostile environment against a desperate opponent.
Despite it all, the 76ers were unfazed.
Philadelphia turned a 10-point deficit into a seven-point lead with a 19-2 run that ended midway through the fourth quarter, then absorbed the best shot Dwyane Wade could throw at the 76ers in the final minutes before heading home with a chance to close the Heat out in Game 5 on Tuesday.
Wade led all scorers with 25 points off the Heat bench, 12 of them coming in the fourth. But it wasn’t enough.
”They don’t let you off the hook,” Wade said, tipping his cap to the 76ers. ”You make one mistake, or you take your foot off the gas for one second, they make you pay.”
Wade doesn’t have a contract for next season. He’s said if he plays, he’ll be back with Miami – though there’s no guarantees.
And that means Saturday might have been his last home game in a Heat uniform. If he knows what the future holds, he didn’t offer any hints.
”I’m focused on the next game, trying to win that one,” Wade said.
Simmons became the first rookie since Magic Johnson in 1980 to post a playoff triple-double – 17 points, 13 rebounds, 10 assists. Joel Embiid finished with 14 points and 12 rebounds for Philadelphia.
”We took care of business,” Embiid said.
Wade carried the comeback effort Youth Ronnie Harrison Jersey , with the Heat down six and less than 2 minutes left. His three-point play cut the margin in half and his next two field goals got Miami within one each time.
The Heat got no closer.
Goran Dragic scored 20, James Johnson had 15 and Hassan Whiteside finished with 13 points and 13 rebounds for Miami, which now needs to pull off some history. The Heat have erased a 3-1 deficit only once, in 1997 against New York.
”We all feel that we’re this close,” said Heat coach Erik Spoelstra, holding his thumb and index finger maybe a millimeter apart. ”That’s what makes this game tough. They made bigger plays than us in the fourth quarter.”
Miami held slim leads at the half – 2-0 in players who went to the locker room injured, 4-0 in stitches received, 61-56 on the scoreboard.
A wild scene was the story of the second quarter. Philadelphia’s Dario Saric was driving from the right wing and had his dribble knocked away by Justise Winslow, and four players wound up on the floor as they went for the loose ball. Josh Richardson took the worst of it, getting slammed into by Embiid. Richardson stayed down for more than a minute, eventually getting helped to his feet and to the Miami locker room.
Hardly anyone noticed.
All eyes were on the other end, where Dragic was shoved to the floor by Robert Covington. James Johnson – a black belt and MMA fighter – took exception and went toward Covington, so Simmons came in for a few words.
”He was protecting his guy,” Covington said of Johnson.
”Physical, competitive basketball,” Spoelstra called it all.
The 76ers kept hitting Miami in the second half too, albeit on the scoreboard. And now Tuesday awaits, with Philadelphia – coming off a Super Bowl title and Villanova’s NCAA crown – on the brink of another celebration.
”We’ve got to finish it Cheap Kemoko Turay Jersey ,” Simmons said.
76ers: Embiid went out for a play in the fourth quarter without his mask, drawing a foul, then getting the mask back on. … Philadelphia finished with 27 turnovers, 17 of those in the first half – after not having more than 14 in any of the first three games of the series.
Heat: Winslow needed four stitches and Richardson bruised his left shoulder in the second-quarter physicality. … Richardson had a Heat playoff record seven steals. … Miami started 1 for 6 from the foul line, and finished 13 for 25.
Philadelphia dominated the backboards, 57-43 and extending possessions time and time again with 17 offensive rebounds.
Philadelphia has outscored Miami after halftime in all four games: 74-43 in Game 1, 61-57 in Game 2, 65-44 in Game 3 and 50-41 on Saturday.
Game 5 is Tuesday night in Philadelphia.
Patrick Robinson spied Drew Brees stepping up to throw deep down the middle, sprinted back toward his own end zone and made an outstretched interception of a ball that initially looked to be thrown beyond anyone’s reach.
”Impressive,” was how Saints coach Sean Payton described the play by Robinson, a cornerback who is one of several recent additions aimed at strengthening a club that nearly advanced to the NFC title game last season.
The onset of offseason practices this week has provided Payton and his staff a chance to begin forging roles for players such as Robinson, as well as fellow newcomers such as linebacker Demario Davis, safety Kurt Coleman, receiver Cameron Meredith and first-round draft choice Marcus Davenport.
It’s also a chance to see if any of the club’s younger running backs – such as rookie Boston Scott – might fill the void created by Pro Bowl rusher Mark Ingram’s four-game suspension for use of a banned substance.
”Obviously, we hate to miss a guy like that. He’s such huge part of what we do and such a great teammate, too,” Brees said of Ingram after Thursday’s non-padded practice, the first open to reporters this offseason. ”We’ll manage.”
Alvin Kamara is on track to emerge as New Orleans’ top running back after being selected as the Offensive Rookie of the Year last season.
But while Kamara played a more versatile running and receiving role that Payton calls a ”Joker back Youth Washington Redskins Jerseys ,” Ingram was a force on more traditional runs.
At only 5-foot-7, Scott is smaller than Ingram, but Payton won’t discount the rookie’s ability to compete for snaps Ingram might otherwise have gotten.
”He’s shorter, but he’s built pretty well. He is someone who has good instincts,” Payton said.
”It’s early, but he’s done some really good things. There’s a running ability he has as well. I wouldn’t look at him as a ”Joker” back, if you will. He’s got some of those traits, but he does a pretty good job with some of the in-line runs.”
The preseason performance of Scott, a sixth-round draft choice out of Louisiana Tech, as well as that of Trey Edmunds, a second-year pro out of Maryland, could determine how the Saints cope with Ingram’s suspension.
”I’m going to work, do everything I can to learn the playbook and just grind,” Scott said. ”By the time preseason rolls around, I’ll be ready.”
The Saints hope they’ve bolstered the passing game by adding receiver Cameron Meredith during free agency. Meredith led Chicago in receiving two seasons ago, but is coming back from a major knee injury that wiped out his 2017 season.
Meredith did some route-running and catching on Thursday, after which Payton pronounced him ”way ahead of schedule.”
”He’s going to factor in this year,” Payton said.
Meredith Youth Fred Warner Jersey , meanwhile, discussed his motivation to regain his 2016 form.
”It was a major injury. I’m not going to downplay it,” Meredith said. ”I’m excited to go out there and prove people wrong.”
On defense, the Saints cannot yet be sure how well 2017 starting end Alex Okafor will come back from his torn Achilles.
In the meantime, Davenport is expected to get a lot of offseason work as the Saints try to refine his pass-rushing skills in time for the fall.
”He’s a tremendous worker,” Payton said. ”He’s coming along really well. There’s a strength element you feel.”
The Saints expect the linebacker group to be strengthened by Davis, a former defensive leader with the New York Jets, as well as the return of second-year pro Alex Anzalone, who started four games as a rookie before the rest of his season was cut short by a shoulder injury.
Both can play multiple roles.
”I’m down with whatever my coaches want me to do,” Davis said. ”I’m here to win.”
Robinson, Payton said, has returned to the club that drafted him in 2010 a more confident and capable player after winning a Super Bowl with Philadelphia last season.
Robinson ”has played on the biggest stages and had success,” Payton said. ”It’s good seeing him back in our building.”
Notes: Ingram was not at practice, even though the terms of his suspension allow him to participate in all offseason and preseason work. Payton said he disagreed with Ingram’s decision, but respects it and has had friendly phone conversations with Ingram about it. Brees said he also has spoken with Ingram, adding, ”I know Mark’s doing what he needs to do to get himself ready to play this season. He’s doing what’s best for him and therefor what’s best for the team.”
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