MIA 113 @ PHI 103
Youth v. experience = theme of this series.
In Game 1, the red-hot, upstart Sixers won their 17th straight victory (dating back to the regular season) riding 18! triples & finishing w/ 130 pts.
Game 2, however, was a completely different story. Not only did Miami do a better job of limiting opportunities from deep (PHI: 7/36 from outside), they had 6 players in double figures, using depth as a key factor to come away with the victory.
It was a pretty balanced effort but Dwyane Wade contributed yet another incredible playoff performance to his record. Wade couldn't miss in the first 24 minutes...(almost) literally: he went 8/9 from the field, scoring 21! pts during that time frame. He was aggressive as a primary decision-maker, riding his hot hand for accurate midrange Js + finding teammates late, once defenders keyed in on him.
A 34-12 second period saw MIA w/ a 56-42 advantage at the break. Philly, however, fought back on a couple different occasions - after trailing 91-75, they reeled off a 12-2 run, cutting the deficit to 6 (93-87).
A lineup of Ben Simmons-Marco Belinelli-JJ Redick-Dario Saric-Ersan Ilyasova provided optimal floor spacing, allowing the Sixers to creep back.
But D. Wade was just too much - in the 4th, he came up w/ a huge steal & leak out dunk, found James Johnson for an uncontested finish & cashed a dagger over Ben Simmons to ice the game.
Just like that, the series is even at a game apiece. Miami is right where it wants to be, with all of the momentum heading back home.
There's definitely adjustments for Philly to make, especially in terms of late game shot selection & execution. Belinelli, in particular, launched a few too many "heat check" Js instead of trying to work it around for better looks.
With Joel Embiid's possible return in Game 3, things should get a lot more interesting.