The Philadelphia 76ers seek to open a 2-0 series lead over the Miami Heat by holding serve at home Monday in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals.
The Sixers rode an avalanche of second-half 3-pointers to blow out the Heat in Game 1 on Saturday, 130-103. Fueled by a near-triple-double by star rookie point guard Ben Simmons and a combined 42 points off the bench from veterans Ersan Ilyasova and Marco Belinelli, Philadelphia turned a close game into a rout with a 23-3 third-quarter surge.
Sixers head coach Brett Brown swung Game 1 by moving Ilyasova into his starting lineup in place of Amir Johnson coming out of halftime, and the Heat had no response. With Joel Embiid’s status for Game 2 still up in the air as he continues to recover from an orbital fracture, it’s difficult to imagine Brown not sticking with Ilyasova as a starter if Embiid does in fact remain sidelined Monday night.
The Heat, meanwhile, need to figure out how to get Hassan Whiteside and Goran Dragic going. Whiteside played only 12 minutes in Game 1, finishing with two points on 1-of-4 shooting, six rebounds and two blocks, before head coach Erik Spoelstra pulled him in favor of Kelly Olynyk and rookie big man Bam Adebayo. Dragic played a team-high 31 minutes, but he shot just 4-of-14 from the field as Robert Covington used his 6’9″ frame and 7’2″ wingspan to make life hell for him.
How will Spoelstra and the Heat respond Monday night? Does he stick with Whiteside in the starting lineup, or does he counter the Ilyasova move by making Olynyk a starter? There’s only one way to find out. Here’s all the information you need to watch this game.
Date: Monday, April 16
Time: 8:00 p.m. ET
Location: Philadelphia, PA
Venue: Wells Fargo Center
TV Info: TNT
Live Stream: Watch live on FuboTV. Sign up now for a free seven-day trial. Qualified subscribers can also watch on TNT Overtime.
As impressive as Philly’s second-half eruption was Saturday, a loss against Miami in Game 2 would mean the Heat accomplished their mission to wrest home-court advantage away. The adjustments both coaches make in response to Game 1 will go a long way toward deciding the victor Monday night.