You can trace the Philadelphia 76ers Game 2 loss to the Miami Heat on Monday to a number of plays or stats, but there’s one sequence in particular that summed up the defeat. And here’s when the Sixers had to feel it wasn’t their night.
A graphic on TV in the second half showed Philly was just 4/18 from the field in the quarter.
Naturally, Ben Simmons two seconds later drove to the lane and missed a wide-open layup.
Dwyane Wade on the next possession scored points No. 19 and 20 of the first half with a bucket.
Down 14 at home going into the half just like that, the Sixers were unable to come back, losing 113-103.
All the “the-last-time-the-76ers-lost-was (add something that happened more than a month ago)” is over. It was a superb 17-0 winning streak that carried into the postseason, but on Monday, the Sixers caught a taste of Murphy’s Law.
Timely turnovers. Missed open shots. You name it, it happened (or didn’t, for the 76ers).
After the Sixers absolutely throttled Miami in Game 1, a couple things were evident if the Heat were to even have a chance in this series: Ben Simmons would have to be contained, the three-point shooters would have to go cold and everything for Miami would have to go right.
Lo and behold, the Heat defense — namely Justice Winslow — made life difficult for Simmons in the first half; nothing was falling for the Sixers shooters, as the team finished 7 of 35 from deep; Dwyane Wade literally stepped into a time machine, pouring in a game-high 28 points.
Wins will always trump losses, but in the case of this Sixers team, welcome to a clean slate now that the winning streak is over.
I wondered if a team that exceeded expectations in the regular season to earn a No. 3 seed and be ahead of schedule in “the process” would feel some sort of pressure in the postseason.
There didn’t seem to be any in the opener of the series.
But as the wins kept piling up and there was an expectation that this team wasn’t going to ever lose again, the monkey is off the back of the 76ers, perhaps allowing them — a young team — to not feel like they have to be perfect in every aspect to keep that winning streak alive.
The next time these two meet will be Game 3 of the postseason, but it’s Game 1 for the 76ers in essence as they look to put together another winning streak to continue their quest to the Finals.
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