76ers: Philadelphia had a pair of shooters fouled beyond the 3-point line in the first quarter: Robert Covington made two of his three free throws, and Belinelli turned his chance into a four-point play. All-Star guard Goran Dragic led the Heat with 23 points and eight assists.
Melbourne-born 21-year-old Simmons is averaging an incredible 21 points, 11 assists and nine rebounds in the first three playoff games.
"It was hard, but it wasn't as painful because I knew we were winning", Embiid said of his injury after scoring 23 points in the Sixers" 128-108 win over the Heat, according to ESPN's Ramona Shelburne. Not only was he making his playoff debut Thursday, but he was set to square off with Miami center Hassan Whiteside - a player he's openly feuded with in the past.
Whiteside played only 13 minutes - five minutes in the first quarter that ended with his second foul, 2 1/2 minutes in second that ended with foul No. 3, 3 1/2 minutes in the third that led to foul No. 4, then two minutes in the fourth where he had two turnovers. The loss gives the Sixers a 2-1 lead in the series and erases the home-court advantage the Heat had gained after their Monday night win in Philadelphia.
The mask came off a couple times, the goggles were askew at times as well - Heat forward Justise Winslow even stomping on them once for good measure, a play that Brown chalked up to the intensity of playoff basketball - but in the end Embiid found a way.
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Now straddling a 2-1 lead with at least one more game still to play at the Wells Fargo Center, it's starting to look like the 76ers may pull this series out after all.
The first quarter was back and forth, and at its conclusion Philadelphia led 37-33.
You can just see the confidence in Game 1.
And, now that he's back, we've been thoroughly reminded of Embiid's unique talent. Embiid was listed as doubtful in the morning and was upgraded to probably hours later before taking the opening tip. The 76ers and Heat continued to trade baskets, many times with taunts following. Sixers coach Brett Brown thought the whole incident was amusing. "So it's gonna take much more than that to get me out of the series". So I'm glad I got him back.
The fighting and jawing made for an entertaining game, but what mattered most is Philly couldn't miss all night, and Miami was incapable of keeping up the offensive pace.
Let's be clear: They still killed the Heat with Embiid on the floor, and their change-of-pace lineups nearly certainly wouldn't have been as effective over the course of a full game.