FINAL: Philadelphia 106, Miami 102
Midway through the third quarter, the Miami Heat had a game-high 12-point lead on the Philadelphia 76ers. Momentum was in its favor. It looked like, in the moment, Miami would have no problem tying up the series at 2-2.
And then, as the third quarter was winding down, Philadelphia went to work.
A 19-2 run spanning almost 7-and-a-half minutes from the end of the third quarter until midway through the fourth gave Philadelphia its first lead since the second quarter.
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It also gave the 76ers the lead for good and a strong hold on the best-of-7 series.
Final score: Philly 106, Miami 102.
This happened even with Dwyane Wade scoring 25 points, Goran Dragic scoring 20 and six Heat players overall putting up at least 10 points each. This happened even with Hassan Whiteside having his best game of the playoffs (13 points, 13 rebounds in 26 tough minutes). This happened despite Miami forcing Philadelphia to turn the ball over a staggering 26 times.
But when it mattered, when it came down to those crucial fourth-quarter possessions, Miami came up short. Wade scored Miami's final eight points and cut the Heat's deficit to 1 on two occasions, but a JJ Redick jumper with 30.1 seconds left to play essentially sealed it.
Rookie phenom Ben Simmons recorded his first career postseason triple double (17 points, 12 reboudns, 10 assists) and Redick scored 24 points for Philadelphia. Joel Embiid also chipped in 14 points and 12 rebounds
And now, the Sixers are now one win away from clinching the first-round series.
Game 5 of the series tips off Tuesday night in Philadelphia at either 8 p.m. or 8:30 p.m.
We'll have more coverage from the game throughout the day.
10:07 4Q: Philadelphia 83, Mimai 83
We're tied folks. Ben Simmons scored the first four points of the quarter and the Sixers are on a 10-0 run going back to the end of the thrid quarter.
End of third quarter: Miami 83, Philadelphia 79
Miami is 12 minutes away from tying up the series if it can hold onto the lead. That's far from guaranteed, though.
3:18 3Q: Miami 79, Philadelphia 71
Goran Dragic casually has 20 points and four steals. He's having a great series that has gone largely unnoticed.
Meanwhile, welcome to the playoffs Hassan Whiteside. 11 points, 7 rebounds and a huge block on Ben Simmons through three quarters. He went to the bench with 3:18 left in the quarter after picking up his fourth foul.
And to put it out there: Richardson is flirting to a rare triple double. 8 points, 7 assists and 6 steals.
7:18 3Q: Miami 72, Philadelphia 62
Josh Richardson now has six steals. That ties the Heat record set by LeBron James and Dwyane Wade for most in a playoff game. That steal led to a lob and dunk for Hassan Whiteside. The Heat now has its largest lead of the game.
9:07 3Q: Miami 68, Philadelphia 60
The Heat went back to its regular starting five to open the second half. Richardson looks fine after suffering what the Heat called a left shoulder contusion late in the second quarter and Tyler Johnson is looking to step up after playing just four minutes in the first half.
Philly calls timeout after the Heat takes an 8-point lead off a Josh Richardson steal and score. Whiteside is up to 7 points.
The Heat had 19 steals total in this series coming in. 14 today alone.
A few quick Heat thoughts during intermission:
1.) Defense: Two numbers to point out.
First, the Heat forced Philadelphia into 17 turnovers. Yes, 17. That's not a typo. More over, the Heat racked up 11 steals in the first half. That's a Heat playoff record for a half.
In the end, that Heat is still only up 5 despite that defensive effort.
2.) Unleash the Dragon: For the second straight game, Goran Dragic had a dominant first half. This time, it was 13 points and 4 steals in 17 well-executed minutes. Dragic fell apart in the second half on Thursday. Can he sustain his energy today?
3.) Whiteside's resurgence?: Hassan Whiteside had his best half of playoff basketball. Granted it was only 5 points and 5 rebounds and he has three fouls already, but he showed effort and patrolled the paint in the 11 minutes he was in action. If he can replicate that in the second half (sans the foul trouble), it would benefit Miami greatly.
4.) Injuries: Justise Winslow got four stitches over his left eye. It's uncertain if Josh Richardson is going to return. The two have 11 points and 8 of Miami's 14 assists from the first half. Should they be out or limited in the second half, who steps up in their absence?
HALFTIME: Miami 61, Philadelphia 56
For the fourth time this series, Miami heads to the locker room with the lead. The question remains: Can the Heat sustain it through the final two quarters? We'll find out soon enough.
Meanwhile, the final four-plus minutes showed the physicality that we've expected to come out of this game.
Goran Dragic (13), Dwyane Wade (11) and Wayne Ellington all in double-figure scoring at halftime.
Justise Winslow returned to the bench from the locker room with about 2 minutes in the half after getting stitches over his left eye.
Analysis to come.
4:27 2Q: Miami 51, Philadelphia 46
James Johnson and Ben Simmons go at it after Johnson goes to defend Goran Dragic following a foul.
MEanwhile, Josh Richardson was down on the other side of the court with an apparent shoulder injury. Justise Winslow also bleeding above his left eye.
Personal foul on Ben Simmons. Technicals on Covington and James Johnson.
6:06 2Q: Miami 45, Philadelphia 42
Goran Dragic is up to 10 points. Hassan Whiteside has 4 points, 5 rebounds and 2 fouls.
6:53 2Q: Miami 41, Philadelphia 40
Dwyane Wade and Wayne Ellington scored Miami's first 11 points in the second quarter.
Hassan Whiteside checked back in for Adebayo with 8:06 left in the second quarter. His first play: A dunk on a feed from Josh Richardson (who has five assists) for his first points of the game.
There have already been 11 lead changes in the first half.
9:50 2Q: Miami 32, Philadelphia 31
Wayne. Ellington. 4. Point. Play. He has 10 points off the bench.
Miami opened the second quarter with a big-heavy lineup: Kelly Olynyk, Bam Adebayo, Wayne Ellington, Dwyane Wade and Josh Richardson.
End of 1st quarter: Philadelphia 26, Miami 26
The Heat scored 9 of the final 11 points of the quarter, with Wayne Ellington's three pointer with 7.4 seconds tying it up.
Ellington, Goran Dragic and Josh Richardson have 6 points each for Miami, which is shooting 43.5 percent from the field and made just 3 of its 8 free throws in the quarter.
Whiteside was sent to the bench out of the timeout in favor of Kelly Olynyk ... who quickly picked up two fouls. Bam Adebayo came in for the final 2:43 of the quarter. Dwyane Wade checked in for the first time with 3:01 left in the quarter.
And for Philadelphia, Ben Simmons continues to dominate the statsheet. He only has 2 points, but he has five rebounds and five assists through the first quarter.
The Sixers did not make a field goal in the final 3:50 of the quarter.
5:11 1Q: Philadelphia 20, Miami 15
The 76ers built up an 8-0 lead thanks to a pair of 3s, but Wayne Ellington stops the run with a corner 3 of his own. Philly calls timeout.
Sixers 9 of 17 shooting so far. The Heat is 6 for 13.
6:57 1Q: Philadelphia 14, Miami 12
Nice energy early on all-around. Josh Richardson with 6 points and a pair of assists early for the Heat. James Johnson with 4 points and 2 rebounds. Hassan Whiteshide with 3 rebounds already. Arguably his best start to a game in this playoff series. Even with that, the Sixers have scored 12 of their 14 points in the paint.
2:30 p.m.: Game on.
1:45 p.m.: It will be the usual starting five for the Heat: Goran Dragic, Tyler Johnson, Josh Richardson, James Johnson and Hassan Whiteside. We're about 45 minutes away from tipoff.
Original post: This will more than likely be the make-or-break game for the Miami Heat.
After dropping Game 3 of the best-of-7 series to the Philadelphia 76ers 128-108 on Thursday, how the Heat performs in AmericanAirlines Arena on Saturday afternoon will likely seal the team's playoff fate.
A win evens up the series at 2-2 and guarantees the Heat at least one more home game this season. A loss drops Miami to 1-3 and would require the Heat to win three straight games - including two at Philadelphia - in order to move on to the conference semifinals.
Tipoff is set for 2:30 p.m. The game will be televised nationally on TNT and locally on Fox Sports Sun.
We will have live updates throughout the game here once action gets underway. In the meantime, here's our coverage from the past couple days to get you ready for the game:
▪ Heat’s Justise Winslow fined for intentionally stepping on Joel Embiid’s mask in Game 3
▪ Hassan Whiteside tuning out critics who 'can't do my job,' unsure how to snap out of his funk
▪ Physicality will be the name of the game on Saturday.
▪ Sixers' Joel Embiid 'not here to make friends' with Heat. He's here to be a nightmare
▪ Whiteside deflects blame for his struggles, cites coaching decisions