By: Kylan Watson
Last night, the Philadelphia 76ers faced the Miami Heat in a pivotal culture defining Game 5 match-up. The 76ers had a lot working in their favor during this game, they had momentum and home court advantage. Both factors played a key role in the victory. As the 76ers beat the Miami Heat by a score of 104-91. For the first time in six years the 76ers are in the second round of the playoffs. This team is growing-up before our eyes, and right now they may be the most complete and dangerous team in the 2018 NBA Playoffs.
The Sixers dominated early in the game, once again paint scoring played a significant role in this game. The 76ers used the paint to open their outside shooting. J.J. Reddick benefitted greatly from the Sixers game plan as he scored 27 points and made 5 three-point shots.
Reddick was not the only one who had a big night, Joel Embiid also performed very well in his first home playoff game. Embiid scored 19 points and grabbed 12 rebounds. The return of Joel Embiid really was the spark the Sixers needed to propel them to their first playoff series victory.
Before Embiid returned the Sixers were missing a consistent scorer and an inside presence. The Heat were taking advantage of the Sixers lack of an inside presence and attacked the paint. The Heat used the paint to get their outside shooting going. However, all of that changed once Embiid returned. Miami’s players were not getting to the paint at will, and they became a jump shooting team thanks to Embiid’s presence. This allowed the rest of his teammates to be much more aggressive on the defensive end and cause a lot of turnovers.
Ben Simmons also had a good night. He scored 14 points, grabbed 10 rebounds, and had 6 assists. Simmons really helped get his teammates involved in the game by pushing the pace off defensive rebounds.
Simmons really had an impressive showing during this series, he scored 18.2 points per game, grabbed 10.6 rebounds per game, and averaged 9.0 assists per game. Simmons’ play and leadership helped the Sixers pull off this victory, it was Simmons who adapted the quickest to the rough style of playoff basketball, Miami was playing during the series. His maturity rubbed off on his teammates and propelled the Sixers to victory.
The Sixers playoff series victory should scare the rest of the teams in the East because the Heat really played the Sixers very aggressively. Initially the rough play affected the team, especially in Game 4. The Sixers turned the ball over 27 times in that game and still won, because they adapted to the rough play. This team is much more mature than they were in the regular season. It seems like this team is not afraid of the moment. If the Sixers keep adapting like this they might just make it, not only to the Eastern Conference Finals, but to the NBA Finals. “The Process” may be completed.