Philadelphia advances to NBA Semifinals: 76ers defeat Miami Heat in game 5 to further post season

Connor McKay, Asst. Sports Editor

      On Tuesday night from the Wells Fargo Center, the Philadelphia 76ers defeated the Miami Heat 104-91 in game 5, punching their ticket to the NBA Eastern Conference Semifinals.

     The crowd was ecstatic at Wells Fargo before the game even started. Meek Mill, after being released from a nearby prison, took a helicopter to the arena and rang the 76ers’ Liberty Bell to get everyone fired up for game five. The 76ers were hot off winning 19 out of their last 20 games and looked to advance to the semifinals with a win. For the Miami Heat, this game was crucial to stay alive in the playoffs to have any chance at continuing their season.

     The game’s first quarter started off the right way for Philadelphia. A quick three-pointer by J.J. Reddick was just what the 76ers needed to gain momentum early. Miami quickly responded with a three of their own, but found themselves struggling by playing too physical, resulting in fouls. While both teams found themselves struggling to make layups inside, it was Philadelphia who took an early 8-3 lead with 10 minutes left in the quarter.
The game’s momentum seemed to slow as both teams were making simple mistakes and missing opportunities. Miami was starting to gain momentum on Philadelphia, going on an 8-0 run and taking the lead with a three. Simmons was quick to respond, and a powerhouse dunk gave the momentum right back.

      The efforts of Dwayne Wade were not to be ignored, as yet again he was a driving force for the Miami offense to keep them alive. Both teams found themselves attacking with an aggressive fast-paced offense, to try and score inside for points. The game was dangerously close, as both teams matched each other’s playing ability. Miami found more success at the free-throw line, scoring 6-of-7 compared to Philadelphia’s 2-of-4. Philadelphia barely held their lead, closing the quarter on top 23-21.

      The second quarter saw Wade again leading the charge against the Philadelphia defense. Neither team was shooting well, slowing the game’s momentum, Philadelphia was shooting only 30%. With only 10 minutes left in the half, Philadelphia was only up by one and a dunk by Joel Ebiid was immediately countered by a three-pointer from Miami’s Wayne Ellington. This tied the game up, showing Miami was not out of the fight yet.
The game was still too close to call at this point, as both teams were firing fast-paced lobs inside for quick points. Both offenses were able to quickly respond to each other’s points. At this point in the game, there had been five leads taken and six ties, showing it was really anyone’s game. With only 3:39 left in the half, Miami found themselves up by six, but their constant fouling got the crowd fired up, invigorating a Philadelphia comeback.
A combination of a fast-paced playstyle to score quick points, and success at the free-throw line tied the game back up. Philadelphia was clearly playing more efficiently, as they had made 12 assists out of 15 buckets, showing good ball movement. A Miami technical committed with 37 ticks left in the half fired up the crowd and the teams went to the locker room tied at 46.

     The game’s third quarter would prove to be Philadelphia’s best. Physicality continued to be a factor, as a controversial hit by Miami’s Goren Dragic on Ben Simmons was not viewed well. Philadelphia continued to make Miami pay for their mistakes and after being sent to the line, Dario Saric made it a nine-point lead.

      While Wade was trying everything he could to rally his troops, Philadelphia was still up 63-54 with only 6:34 left in the quarter. The momentum stayed with the 76ers as a big three forced Miami head coach Erik Spoelstra to call a timeout.

      The dominance of Philadelphia really started to show with only four minutes and thirty seconds left in the quarter. They found themselves 13 points ahead of Miami. As they controlled the lead, both the offense and defense of the Heat started to choke. Even the 76ers’s second stringers made quick work of the Miami defense and took their biggest lead of 18 points with only two minutes left. Philadelphia outscored Miami 34-20 in the third quarter and ended it on top 80-66.

     The fourth quarter of the game saw Miami’s last attempts to stay in the game. The 76ers started on strong, playing conservatively to control their dominance in the game. With only 10 minutes left, a three-pointer by Reddick had Philadelphia up by 16, while Miami found themselves missing shots.
A 10-0 run by Miami kept them alive as they fought for every basket they made inside. Their aggressiveness would be their downfall, as another flagrant foul resulted in a technical. Philadelphia found themselves up by 11 with only five minutes left in the game.

      With only two minutes left, Reddick got the crowd fired up with a commanding 100-89 lead. Miami continued to choke as the entire arena stood in excitement. Wade would decide to run out the clock in the game’s final moments and the 76ers would take it 104-91 and advance to the semifinals.
Reddick led the way for Philadelphia on Tuesday, totaling 27 points and two assists. Simmons (14 points, 10 rebounds) and Embiid (19 points, 12 rebounds) each posted a double-double. Simmons also led in assists with six. For Miami, Kelly Olynyk led with 18 points, six assists, and eight rebounds. Tyler Johnson put up 16 points, and Dragic had 15.

      With their advancement to the semifinals, the Sixers will now await the conclusion of the first-round series between the Boston Celtics and then Milwaukee Bucks. After recording a 92-87 win on Tuesday, Boston leads the series 3-2. Game six takes place on Thursday at 8:00 pm. If needed, game seven will be played on Saturday.