Less than 24 hours after Saturday’s 130-103 loss to the 76ers in the opening game of their first-round playoff series, the Miami Heat were still searching for answers.
Immediately after Saturday’s game, the Heat seemed a little shell-shocked at the way the Sixers took them apart in the second half. Miami led, 60-56, at halftime, only to be outscored 74-43 over the final two quarters.
Miami practiced on Sunday at Temple University for Game 2, which will be Monday at the Wells Fargo Center and the Heat were ready to move on and forget about the second-half drubbing.
A central theme by the Heat on Sunday was that despite being soundly outplayed in the second half, the Sixers only get one win for doing so, with three more still needed.
“You have to understand, it is a seven-game series and understand that each game in the playoffs is its own game and you can’t take it to the other game, good or bad, if you win or lose,” said Miami reserve guard and future Hall of Famer Dwyane Wade after Sunday’s practice.
Wade, 36, won three NBA championships in his previous stint with Miami. With 11 points in Saturday’s loss, Wade now has 3,882 playoff points, 11th in NBA history. He knows his way around the postseason.
The Heat seemed eager to rebound in Game 2, realizing the enormity of the task.
Wade continually praised the 76ers
“They are really good,” said Wade, who has appeared in 173 playoff games.
Yet, Wade certainly isn’t going to concede the series after one game.
“Ultimately, they are beatable just like every other team; you just have to figure it out,” he said. “We had one game to try it, it didn’t work and now another game to try it on the floor and see how it works.”
Showing more intensity is the first thing, that the veteran guard feels the Heat need to do.
“Ultimately, we have to play with more force,” he said. “I felt, we all felt we were laying back a little bit. We have to pick up our pressure, pick up our intensity a little more.”
Everybody was asking Wade, and his teammates what to do about Sixers point guard Ben Simmons, who had 17 points, 14 assists (along with five turnovers) and nine rebounds in his first playoff game.
Simmons got so many of his teammates open looks and the Sixers responded by shooting 18 for 28 (64.3 percent) from three point range.
“Ben is Ben,” Wade said. “There are other guys we have to worry about and focus a little more on than Ben.”
His reasoning was sound.
“Ben is going to be Ben just like LeBron (James) is going to be LeBron,” Wade said, “and (with) those kind of guys, you have to key on the other guys a little bit more and limit their touches because Ben is going to have the ball the whole game.”
Wade was asked if he was surprised that Simmons had such a major impact in his first playoff game. The answer was a quick “no,” with an explanation: “He hasn’t played like a rookie since he has been on the basketball floor,” Wade said. “Some guys are special like that … Obviously, if you can do that on this playoff level, it is even more heightened, even more impressive.”
So while Wade is highly impressed with Simmons and the Sixers, he feels his team, which was highly competitive in the first half, is capable of performing like that for all four quarters, provided they make the proper adjustments, which was what Sunday was all about for Miami.