Heat at 76ers
The Philadelphia 76ers' phenomenal 17-game winning streak now includes one playoff victory, the franchise's first in six years. The Sixers will try to make it two straight over the Miami Heat in their best-of-seven Eastern Conference first-round series when the teams meet in Game 2 on Monday in Philadelphia.
After a slow start in Saturday's opener, Philadelphia outscored the Heat by a whopping 74-43 margin in the second half en route to a convincing 130-103 Game 1 victory. "I feel this group has something special in it," coach Brett Brown told reporters after his team made 18-of-28 3-pointers and recorded 34 assists against just 10 turnovers in a dominant effort. The last nine of the Sixers' 17 straight wins have come without All-Star center Joel Embiid (orbital fracture), who could return as soon as Game 2 or 3. The Heat will need to get more out of their own big man, as Hassan Whiteside provided just two points on 1-of-4 shooting in 12 lackluster minutes.
TV: 8 p.m. ET, TNT, FS Sun (Miami), NBCS Philadelphia
ABOUT THE HEAT: Whiteside has expressed displeasure at times with head coach Erik Spoelstra and the center seemed to display frustration over his limited minutes in Game 1. "It's not about him," Spoelstra told the media. "This series and this game, it's going to move quickly. It's not necessarily an indictment to his (play)." The play of another 7-footer, Kelly Olynyk, was perhaps another reason for Whiteside's limited contributions, as Olynyk scored a team-high 26 points on 9-of-13 shooting - including 4-of-5 from beyond the arc - off the bench.
ABOUT THE 76ERS: With Embiid sidelined, Philadelphia has been thriving on its many quality outside shooters, and the quartet of JJ Redick, Dario Saric, Marco Belinelli and Ersan Ilyasova combined to hit 15-of-23 long-range attempts in Game 1. "Whether Ersan comes in or Marco comes in, that's who we are," Brown told reporters. "That's what we're trying to coach here. And the guys have bought in. We play fast, we look for each other. The 3-point shot, without Joel, has become a real big part of our identity. We'll continue to do that. You have to do that or you won't win games when it matters." Rookie Ben Simmons was the one finding most of those shooters and he finished his playoff debut with 17 points and 14 assists.
1. Redick scored a game-high 28 points in Game 1, the third time in his last four games going back to the regular season that he finished with that total.
2. Miami's starters combined to shoot 13-of-40 from the field in Game 1.
3. Including Game 1, Philadelphia won 24 of its last 25 games at Wells Fargo Center.