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[BKL] Apr 16, 2018

NBA Playoff Preview: Heat at 76ers

By Gracenote

No. 6 Miami Heat at No. 3 Philadelphia 76ers (-6.5; +215.5)

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 last 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. The last nine of the Sixers' 17 straight wins have come without All-Star centre 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 centre Hassan Whiteside provided just two points on 1-of-4 shooting in 12 lackluster minutes.

ABOUT THE HEAT: Whiteside has expressed displeasure at times with head coach Erik Spoelstra and the centre seemed to display frustration over his limited minutes in Game 1. The play of another 7-footer, power forward 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 shooting guard JJ Redick, power forward Dario Saric, shooting guard Marco Belinelli and power forward Ersan Ilyasova combined to hit 15-of-23 long-range attempts in Game 1. Rookie Ben Simmons was the one finding most of those shooters and he finished his playoff debut with 17 points and 14 assists.

BUZZER BEATERS

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.
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