Heat even series, end 76ers’ win streak at 17 games
Dwyane Wade turned in a vintage performance, scoring 28 points to end the 76ers’ 17-game winning streak and lead the Miami Heat to a 113-103 Game 2 win over Philadelphia on Monday night and even the first-round playoff series.
Playing without injured All-Star center Joel Embiid for the 10th straight game, the Sixers nearly pulled off an epic comeback and rallied from 16 down to just 2 points late in the fourth.
Philly fans were going wild and suddenly the home-court edge that had made the Sixers unbeatable for a month seemed like it would perk the team back up for one more notch on the winning streak.
Wade buried two big buckets down the stretch that pushed back the Sixers and tied the series as it shifts to Miami for Game 3 on Thursday.
‘‘I saw moments,’’ Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. ‘‘That’s what defines Dwyane Wade. He can settle the group with his experience, his championship experience.”
The Sixers lost for the first time since March 13 to Indiana. They won 16 straight to end the regular season and the first game of the playoffs.
Wade’s play resembled his glory days at times and he carried the Heat in a sensational second quarter that was the difference. He pump-faked his way to 15 points in the quarter — impressive enough, even moreso that he outscored the potent Sixers by two points.
The 36-year-old Wade made his first seven shots of the game and passed Larry Bird for 10th on the NBA’s career postseason scoring list.
After a Game 1 victory where they couldn’t miss, the Sixers couldn’t make a big bucket in the first half. The Sixers made a team playoff-record 18 threes in Game 1 and missed a whopping 16 of 18 treys in the first half. Robert Covington missed all five and Dario Saric was 0 for 4. The Sixers made four baskets and scored 13 points in the quarter.
The Heat slowed the game down — exactly the kind of style where the Sixers needed Embiid in the middle — and used a collective of defenders on Ben Simmons that rattled the rookie point guard early.
The passing-and-pushing offense that got the Sixers to the No. 3 seed in the East failed them for the first time since early March.
But there was life left in the fourth.
Saric was fouled by Wade and sank both from the line to make it 91-82 and he followed with a three the next time down that sent the crowd into a frenzy. Saric broke up a pass on defense that led to a Simmons dunk and suddenly 18 straight wins was within reach. Ersan Ilyasova made a tip shot to close to 98-96.
Wade contributed with baskets, assists, and free throws over the final 4 minutes to close out the win.
Simmons led the Sixers with 24 points and Saric had 23.
‘‘I hate this feeling but maybe it’s a good reminder for everybody for next game to lock in,’’ Simmons said.
Warriors 116, Spurs 101 — Kevin Durant sparked a decisive third-quarter run on the way to 32 points, Klay Thompson added 31 points and five assists in another superb playoff performance, and host Golden State rallied in the second half to beat San Antonio for a 2-0 lead in their first-round series.
As Stephen Curry remains out likely for the entire series nursing a sprained left knee, the defending champions used all the offensive power they had to take both home games in the best-of-seven series. Wearing a dark checkered sport coat, Curry was all smiles watching another lopsided win without him.
Thompson followed up his brilliant 11-for-13 shooting day in a 113-92 Game 1 rout Saturday by hitting 12 of 20 shots. Durant also had six rebounds and six assists for the Warriors, who went without key backup big man David West down the stretch after he sprained his left ankle early in the fourth.
Coach Steve Kerr stuck with JaVale McGee as his starting center and the 7-footer contributed 10 points and seven rebounds as the well-rounded defending champions again showed off their remarkable depth.
LaMarcus Aldridge scored 34 for the Spurs and Rudy Gay moved into the starting lineup and scored 12 points.
Game 3 is Thursday as the series shifts to San Antonio.
Thompson managed just three shots in the first quarter and began 1 for 5. He pounded the basketball down with two hands, frustrated, midway through the second quarter. Then he found his groove.
A baseline 3 with 55.9 seconds left before halftime was his first of the night and got Golden State within 49-45 before the Spurs took a 53-47 lead at intermission.
Draymond Green began 0 for 5 before his first basket on the opening possession of the fourth quarter and Durant missed his five 3-point tries in the first half then finally hit from deep early in the third.
The Warriors opened the third on a 19-5 run to take charge but this time the Spurs didn’t go away.
Spurs coach Gregg Popovich went with Gay in the starting lineup for Kyle Anderson in an effort to generate more scoring — and his team still struggled to make shots.
Popovich said before the game that Golden State in Game 1 played ‘‘the most stifling defense we faced all year long. That was the best defensive 48 minutes that we have competed against all year long.’’