This was a total character win by the 76ers in Wednesday’s 104-102 triumph over the visiting Miami Heat. Trailing by 24 points early in the third quarter, the Sixers got back in the game by outscoring Miami by 15 points in the third and kept charging in the fourth. While the Sixers trailed 62-39 at halftime, it wasn’t from a lack of effort, just poor shooting. One way to gauge effort is on the offensive glass. The Sixers had a 13-2 edge in offensive rebounds in the first half. For the game the Sixers had a 23-3 offensive rebounding edge and a 60-29 overall rebounding edge.
Ben Simmons had a huge effort, contributing a triple double . One thing about Simmons is that he never seems to panic, but with Joel Embiid out due to right ankle soreness, and sensing the Sixers would need more offense, Simmons was taking it to the basket more with authority. Instead of passing as he often does while driving to the basket, he was finishing his drives. Simmons ended with 18 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists, shooting 8 of 15 from the field.
Big adjustment on Dragic
The Sixers put Robert Covington on Miami point guard Goran Dragic and even though Covington is an accomplished defender, he had trouble staying with the veteran lefthander in the first half. Dragic has plenty of Manu Ginobili in his game, the hesitation dribble, buying himself a step on a defender and then methodically dribbling by him. Dragic set the tone early with nine points during a 29-20 Heat first quarter advantage and 16 at halftime. In the second half, Covington played him much tighter and Dragic struggled, scoring just two points after halftime.
Holmes earning more minutes?
With Embiid out, Richaun Holmes saw action as the backup to starter Amir Johnson. Holmes’ best attribute is his motor and a few times he ran the floor well enough to end up the recipient of some dunks. Johnson is on the team for his defense and leadership but he is a liability on offense. Holmes had not played in six of the previous seven Sixers games, but this effort might have earned him a few future minutes. He ended with 11 points and nine rebounds in 28 minutes, 11 seconds and the type of energy that helped fuel the comeback.
Sparkling debut for Belinelli
It was quite a Sixers debut for Marco Belinelli. Playing 27 minutes and 41 seconds, Belinelli scored 17 points, shooting 7 for 12 from the field and 3 of 5 from three point range. He was signed for his ability to hit from the perimeter and stretch defenses and Belinelli did just that against the Heat. The Sixers had long stretches when Belinelli and JJ Redick were on the court together, which really opened the floor for the other three players. Considering he had one practice with the team, Belinelli looked downright comfortable