76ers 93, Heat 85
MIAMI (AP)—Of all the postgame stats that merited Miami coach Pat Riley’s attention, one glared more than most.
Fast-break points in the second half: Philadelphia 19, Miami 0.
Translation: The 76ers simply ran past the Heat after halftime.
“In the first half they had a lot of transition points,” 76ers coach Maurice Cheeks said. “I think they had 16 layups. After the first half, we were able to control the rebounds. We were able to get out in the open court and get some easy baskets. Guys were making big shots for us.”
After halftime, Philadelphia made 53 percent of its shots, held Miami to 30 percent shooting—2-for-20 from 3-point range—and outscored the Heat 59-36 to send the defending NBA champions to their third loss in four games.
“Just playing bad basketball,” Heat guard Eddie Jones said. “We played some great minutes. In the first half we probably played 19, 20 of great basketball. But we came out in the second half, man, and just played some bad basketball. … We’re letting teams do whatever they want to do.”
Iguodala, back in the lineup after a sore back forced him to miss the 76ers’ game with Charlotte on Friday and end a streak of 232 straight appearances, added seven rebounds and six assists for Philadelphia, which has won 10 of its last 14 to remain alive in the Eastern Conference playoff race.
“It was like a totally different team out there,” Iguodala said. “We have to give ourselves credit. We were contesting shots and getting fast-break points. Our pressure on the ball was much better in the second half.”
Miami used its favored inside-out style—O’Neal getting lots of touches— in the first half, but when Philadelphia took that away after halftime, the Heat got into quick trouble and never found a solution.
“Teams are going to start going there, taking Shaq away from us,” Williams said. “So we’ve got to be prepared and be ready to go to different things.”
Korver hit a jumper with 1:56 left to put Philadelphia up by six, before O’Neal answered with a three-point play 52 seconds later. His free throw not only got the Heat to 86-83, it was just his second make in nine attempts from the foul line.
Walker had 11 points and Jones added 10 for the Heat, who hit their first four tries from 3-point range—and went 2-for-23 the rest of the way.
For the Heat, the early going was nearly the exact opposite of the opening minutes of their game at Indiana on Friday night. There, they fell behind by 24 points after one quarter. On Saturday, they used a 24-5 run in the opening quarter to build a 30-13 lead, and stretched the margin to 19 when O’Neal scored on Miami’s first trip of the second quarter.
Miami allowed 33 first-quarter points Friday in Indiana; Philadelphia didn’t eclipse the 33-point mark until Korver’s 3-pointer with 2.7 seconds left before halftime drew the 76ers to 49-34 at the break.
“Gave them a little bit of life,” Riley said. “Then in the third and fourth quarters, it just went south on us.”
The 76ers got to 67-61 entering the fourth, and Korver opened the final period with a 3-pointer and another jumper to get Philadelphia to 67-66.
When Iguodala found Dalembert underneath for a dunk with 8:42 left, the 76ers were on top 72-71—their first lead since 6-5. They gave up the lead when Williams hit a jumper with 7:19 left, before Korver answered with a 3-pointer that put Philadelphia up for good.
Tennis legends Andre Agassi and Steffi Graf sat underneath one basket, and rapper Ludacris was also in attendance. … The stat sheet said O’Neal was 0-for-5 from the line in the first half. He was actually 0-for-8, when adding three misses wiped away by Philadelphia lane violations—including two on one trip, meaning O’Neal essentially missed four shots in one possession. … Philadelphia is 3-0 when holding Miami under 100 points this season. The lone 76ers loss in the season series was Nov. 27, when the Heat won 103-91.