Published: Sun, April 22, 2018
Sport | By Cameron Gross

Gutsy effort lifts Sixers to 3-1 series lead over Heat

Gutsy effort lifts Sixers to 3-1 series lead over Heat

Their relative lack of experience only makes what they're doing - especially in the Playoffs - that much more special.

This was far from a flash in the pan showing, either, with Simmons just one rebound away from a triple-double in game one of the series against the Heat. He's been on the winning side often, including three championships, so he recognizes a unique team when he sees it.

Tuesday will be Game 5 of the series at the Wells Fargo Center, where the Sixers can win and advance to the Eastern Conference Semi-Finals to face either the Boston Celtics or Milwaukee Bucks. The Heat have erased a 3-1 deficit only once, in 1997 against NY.

A triple-double (at least 10 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists) is a sign of a player's wide-ranging influence across a match and Simmons again played a starring role as his Philadelphia 76ers beat the Miami Heat 106-102 on Sunday (AEST).

The Philadelphia 76ers are on the verge of clinching a spot in the second round of the playoffs after securing a huge game four win over the Miami Heat to take a commanding 3-1 series lead. "I think that's the first time the 76ers had a triple-double since Charles Barkley, and that's big time". Wade encourages his teammates to play with maturity and withstand the Sixers' runs.

If the Sixers win Game 5 at home on Tuesday, they would advance to the second round and await the victor of the Celtics and Bucks. Fast forward three days to Game 3 in Miami and Embiid, protective mask and all, was cleared to play, in what was a physical Game 2 that evolved into a dog fight in Game 3. Simmons used a high screen to attack the paint going right, picking up speed as the defense failed to rotate to block his path. "We really didn't have a right to win the game".

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"We took care of business", Embiid said. "You walk out of that game, you gave everything you had, you can live with whatever result is there at the end".

All series long, the Sixers have been the better team down the stretch - which is unexpected for a young team taking on a more veteran squad.

Wade led all scorers with 25 points off the Heat bench, 12 of them coming in the fourth. On Sunday, he scored 12 of his 25 points in the fourth quarter alone.

"I want to be the greatest to play the game", he told NBC. In game three, confidence buoyed by a rare road win and now on friendly turf, the Heat pushed the envelope of intimidation beyond the limits of National Basketball Association regulations.

What he will answer is questions about his competition.

The 76ers might very well be the NBA's team of the future.

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