76ers to Ride 'Process' to 18th Straight Win and Cover vs. Heat

sixers heat

Doug Upstone

Sunday, April 15, 2018 8:42 PM UTC

Sunday, Apr. 15, 2018 8:42 PM UTC

Philadelphia scored 74 points in the second half to pull away from Miami for a decisive 130-103 victory in Game 1. Can they maintain the momentum Monday night and go up 2-0 in the series?

NBA Monday: Heat (19-11-2 ATS road dogs) vs. 76ers (25-12 ATS home faves)Free NBA Pick: 76ers -6.5Best Line Offered: BetOnline

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Two seasons ago the Philadelphia 76ers won 10 games. In fact, prior to this season, the Sixers had won 54 total games in three years, and this campaign they won 52 and ended up as the third seed in the Eastern Conference. Besides being young and going through all the losing, the Philly front office knew part of the maturation process meant adding veteran players. They did just that and brought in the 30+ club, adding J.J. Redick, Ersan Ilyasova and Marco Belinelli -- and all they did was score 70 of the Sixers 130 points in Saturday's drubbing of the Miami Heat.

After being a 5.5-point favorite in the series opener, Philadelphia was made a -6.5 favorite on the NBA odds board for Game 2. Do the 76ers keep building on their 17-game winning streak (12-5 ATS) and hot shooting, or do the Heat find a way to cool the Sixers down?

Miami's Defense Must Turn Up Heat

It's not like Miami coach Erik Spoelstra had not warned his team about the Philly's “ready, fire, aim” offense. Watching coach Brett Brown's club set an NB -record for most consecutive wins to close the season should have been a large enough indicator. Plus, you just need a calculator, not an analytics department, to know this group of sharp-shooters was averaging 118.9 points per game over their last 13 contests before the playoffs. And the last eight of those were without leading scorer Joel Embiid.

The first order of business for Spoelstra to talk about is transition defense, because that is where the 76ers knocked down most of the team's playoff-record 18 three-pointers (on only 28 attempts). This was especially true in the second half when Miami players played like they were in a daze.

The Heat have to find their men at halfcourt and do a much better job on dribble penetration and stick with who they are guarding, instead of bringing late help, which Saturday was to no avail.

Sixers Need To Do More Of Same

When you have won as many games as Philadelphia, you come to the arena every time knowing you are going to win. And with this contingent, everyone assumes they are going to be the hot shooter that night, and Brown's crew can bury any team right now with their blizzard of points.

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.@BenSimmons25 😤

📸 https://t.co/QC3mCJ5ZUn | #HereTheyCome pic.twitter.com/nK3XZffaQt

— Philadelphia 76ers (@sixers) April 15, 2018
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The worst thing the 76ers could do right now is think. They just have to come out, play the same way they have and trust each other that someone will drain several shots in a quarter and they keep building leads. The other secret nobody is talking about when it comes to this team's success is they are 12-4-1 in this stretch in the battle of the boards.

The Pick

As anyone who has ever made NBA picks for the playoffs understands, one team whipping another has little to do with the next game. I fully expect a much more defensively detailed game from Miami, who is an exceptional 15-4 ATS as a road underdog of 6.5 to 12 points since last season. Nonetheless, this Philly crew is in the zone and though Embiid is cleared to play, he will not. No matter, this group is locked in and will move to 14-4 ATS when coming off two or more spread covers. The Sixers will win by 10.

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