The Heat did something Saturday that hadn't been done by any team in the playoffs in 32 years: It lost a playoff game in which it forced at least 27 turnovers.
Sixers coach Brett Brown said it was “mind-boggling” how his team managed to win despite all its mistakes.
Philadelphia, coincidentally, was also the previous team to win a playoff game despite 27 turnovers. The Sixers beat Milwaukee 126-108 on May 9, 1986, making the same number of turnovers.
“Sometimes that's basketball,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. “They’re a very good team. I think we played very well. We're a very good team. Sometimes unfortunately it might be as simple as missing 12 free throws and having that disparity on the free throw line. It's a good opportunities vs. freebies there and we weren't able to capitalize on it. They had 14 more makes than us.”
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FIRST HALF SKIRMISH
Like every other game in the series, Saturday's was physical from start to finish.
Tempers flared with 4:27 left in the first half after Goran Dragic was fouled by Ben Simmons on a fast break and then shoved by Robert Covington on his way to the basket. James Johnson, who was trailing on the play, immediately grabbed Covington and shoved him up against the padded stanchion under the basket.
Simmons then grabbed Johnson, who immediately got in his face and the two began arguing before being separated. Covington and Johnson were each given technical fouls and Simmons was charged with a common foul.
“He was protecting his guy,” Covington said of Johnson. “Ben did the same exact thing. I was protecting myself in the first place. If he’s going to keep playing and keep playing on, there’s consequences. Overall it wasn’t a means to try to hurt him or anything but I was bracing myself.”
Johnson said there was nothing dirty on the play.
“I know Robert Covington,” he said. “I know he’s not a player like that. At the same time I also know it’s the playoffs and players have to make fouls and make statements like that.
“You never know the intention of a man or a team in that situation. Who knows if that was to ignite their guys or energize their guys in a positive way? Who knows why he did it in the context of the game. It happened. You move on.”
Later in the game, Heat center Hassan Whiteside and Sixers forward Dario Saric each received technical fouls for exchanging words with 5:29 left in the third quarter.
▪ Justise Winslow had little to say about the NBA fining him $15,000 for stepping on Joel Embiid's mask in Game 3.
"I'm not going to even talk about it right now," Winslow said before Game 4. "It is what it is. I'm still out there playing. I didn't get suspended. I'm going to do what I can to help my team win. I'm not concerned about it right now."
Spoelstra said the team spoke to Winslow about it and Winslow would pay the fine.
Asked if he agreed with it, Spoelstra replied: "No, but we get it. It adds to the side stories to what is going on. It's a good series going on."
▪ The Heat set a postseason franchise record with 18 steals for the game and 11 in the first half. Josh Richardson had a Heat playoff record seven steals. The previous mark (6) was held by Dwyane Wade and LeBron James.
"I think Josh, he's definitely grown a lot and he still has so much room to grow," Wade said. "But he shows flashes of greatness, he shows flashes of doing things not a lot of people in this game can do. And we just want to continue to build on that."
▪ Miami was outscored 27-19 in the fourth quarter and has been outscored by 42 points in the fourth quarter of this series.
▪ Sixers center Joel Embiid shot just 2 for 11 but closed with 14 points, 12 rebounds and five blocks.
“I missed the shots I was making the other night," he said. "I thought I did other things to have an impact, especially defensively. I'm pretty happy about things. .... I love the physicality."
▪ Of Wade's 176 career playoff games, he has scored at least 20 points in 111 of them.
Wade's 25 points were the third-most off the bench by a Heat player in a playoff game. Wade holds the Heat record with 28 in Game 2. Kelly Olynyk had 26 off the bench in Game 1.