For the Miami Heat, Game 1 of their Eastern Conference playoff series against the Philadelphia 76ers turned into a nightmare after halftime. They are going to have to figure out some things in a hurry as they get ready for Monday's second game, which is slated to get underway at 8:05 PM ET at the Wells Fargo Arena in Philadelphia. Keep in mind that if you are a BetAnySports customer, you can place wagers even after the game tips off, as you take advantage of what is available through Live Betting Ultra.
When you get outscored 74-43 in the second half of action, as they did, you know there were some adjustments Philly made that Erik Spoelstra was not able to deal with. One thing that ultimately plagued them was the fact that they couldn't handle the way the Sixers were able to spread out their attack in the halfcourt, and that was a by-product of the loss of Joel Embiid, the uber-talented center who has been sitting out the last few weeks with an orbital injury. So what they have done is use Ben Simmons to create from his "point-forward" position and put a smaller lineup on the floor, with guards AND big men able to shoot from beyond the arc (with the exception of Simmons, who just doesn't do that). And they have delivered, because they have people who can do that. In Game 1, JJ Redick, Dario Saric, Marco Belinelli and Ersan Ilyasova were all equally dangerous from downtown, and the Sixers hit 18 of 28 triples (64.3%). That is hard to contend with.
Redick in particular warmed up in the second half, with 23 points, and only three of his shots were contested. Clearly the Heat had a very difficult time closing out on defense, and Philadelphia made it such that the presence of shot-blocker Hassan Whiteside was almost meaningless. One of the things the Heat wants to do in Game 2 is make Whiteside more of a factor. Whether that happens on defense is something that is going to be dictated by the Sixers' offensive attack. But on offense, he can become more assertive than the two points he scored in 12.5 minutes on Saturday.
In the NBA playoff betting odds that have been established at BetAnySports, the Sixers are laying points:
Philadelphia 76ers -6.5
Miami Heat +6.5
Over 216 points -110
Under 216 points -110
It's tough to shut down an offense that exhibited as much ball movement as the Sixers did in Game 1. As Redick put it, "This is sort of how we played since Embiid has been out." And they have won eight straight games - of their 17 consecutive victories - with him sidelined. And for a team that has used him as an anchor to climb up the ladder, that is indeed impressive. During this time, Philadelphia has also been working #1 overall draft choice Markelle Fultz into the rotation. Fultz is not a big-time outside shooter - and he also suffered something of a psychological block regarding his shot while sitting out - but he is a dangerous perpetrator and someone who can also command a double-team as he moves inside the arc, which also has the effect of opening things up for the long-distance shooters. And he can be dynamite in the transition game. As the playoffs progress, he can become more of a factor.
Miami's objective is not only to get something more out of Whiteside here, but also to get anything at all out of Josh Richardson, who made just one field goal in Game 1 and had a minus-30 plus-minus figure. Goran Dragic is more or less the floor leader, but he has been dealing with a sore knee and missed all five of the shots he took that were contested on Saturday. Dwyane Wade, the Heat legend, had eleven points in Game 1, but of course he is not where he used to be on the offensive or defensive ends.
The Heat does not really have superstars (at least of the present); instead they need a number of component parts to perform at a high level for them to win. Naturally, they get better in terms of challenging shooters, and to operate better in the paint. We don't know that they are capable of this, and prefer to move with the hot team that is in a groove at the moment. Does Philadelphia look like the best team in the East right now? You bet they do.
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(The preceding information was furnished for news matter only)