Quantcast 2011 NBA Eastern Conference Playoffs: Round One - Miami vs Philadelphia

 

2011 NBA Playoff Preview – Eastern Conference First Round

Eastern Conference First Round Game 4 - Philadelphia 86, Miami 82 – Heat lead series, 3-1

 

 

It seemed that the young Philadelphia 76ers simply weren’t going to get over the hump against the favored Miami Heat.

Having played competitively in two of the previous three games and come up empty handed, Sunday afternoon in Philadelphia looked like another version of the same song. Trailing 82-76 with just 1:35 remaining in the contest, the Sixers’ season was just about to end. The Heat, who trailed by 16 points in the first half, used a 16-2 burst to forge a tie late in the first half. They reeled in the youthful Sixers and then powered their way to a six-point edge in the latter stages of regulation. It was just a matter of time before the postgame handshakes followed and the Sixers hit the golf course.

How quickly things changed at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia.

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First, Evan Turner hit a running jumper at the 1:22 mark. That score was followed by a Jrue Holliday three-pointer with 46 seconds left, and suddenly, Philadelphia trailed by just one point. The Sixers got their second stop in a row by forcing Dwyane Wade to shoot a contested fade-away jumper. The home team kept Miami out of the paint and played a part in generating stagnant possessions for the second-seeded NBA title contender. When given a chance to take the lead and steal a win, the Sixers didn’t exactly take the best shot, but they didn’t miss it, either. Lou Williams buried a deep three-pointer, a 28-footer that made absolutely no sense for his team, with eight seconds left to give Philadelphia a stunning 84-82 lead. On the ensuing possession, Philly forward Elton Brand blocked an eight-foot floater from Miami’s Lebron James. The stellar defensive play all but sealed the upset victory and the Sixers lived to fight another day.

 

Five Sixers scored in double-figures, led by Williams and Turner off the bench, who had 17 points apiece. The Sixers did a much better job on the glass when compared to previous outings: Brand led the way with 11 rebounds for coach Doug Collins’s crew. Andre Iguodala scored 16 points but was unable to break out of his shooting slump. The Philadelphia bench outscored the Miami bench by 20 points.

LeBron was solid again, scoring 31 points and adding seven rebounds and six assists. His Heat teammates, however, struggled from the field, shooting just 38 percent. Moreover, LeBron and Wade continued the remarkable pattern Miami established over the regular season of missing shots in the final minute of a one-possession game. The Heat are now 1-of-19 from the floor in the final 10 seconds of games they trail by one possession (three points or fewer). The Heat will now face a Game 5 that their potential second round opponent Boston did not. We’ll see if this is a hassle or an opportunity to stay loose before the Eastern Conference semifinals.

 

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By: Matt Zemek
Pro Basketball Fans Staff Writer


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