Simmons leads short-handed 76ers to come-back win over Heat
PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Even though they were without All-Star Joel Embiid and down 24 points, the 76ers never lost hope.
Ben Simmons had a triple-double, J.J. Redick hit a crucial 19-foot, off-balanced jumper from the baseline with 19.4 seconds left and short-handed Philadelphia came back from a 24-point second-half deficit to defeat the Miami Heat 104-102 on Wednesday night.
Dario Saric added 19 points and Marco Belinelli scored 17 in his first game with the 76ers, who won their fifth straight and 11th in a row on their home court.
“It just shows what kind of team we are,” said Simmons, who finished with 18 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists. “Fighting back, staying with it.”
Embiid sat because of soreness in his right ankle. Scheduled to start for the Eastern Conference in the All-Star game this weekend, Embiid is averaging 23.7 points, 11.1 rebounds and 1.8 blocks.
“Knowing he’s out, I had to be more aggressive and get my teammates involved,” Simmons said. “Everybody played well.”
Well, at least in the second half.
Philadelphia trailed by 23 at halftime and the Heat looked like they were going to coast to a victory when Luke Babbitt made a corner 3-pointer to make it 68-44 2:49 into the third quarter. But the 76ers outscored Miami 29-13 the rest of the third period and closed within 84-82 with 8:44 left in the game when Belinelli opened the fourth period with three consecutive 3-pointers.
Philadelphia surged into the lead on Simmons’ alley-oop finish after Redick’s pass that made it 92-90 with 5:14 to play, and the 76ers took their biggest lead on Belinelli’s layup that put them up 100-94 with 2:25 left.
Redick’s off-balance jumper made it 102-99 with 19.4 seconds left. Wayne Ellington’s tying attempt with 15 seconds remaining missed, and Philadelphia looked like it had the game won when Robert Covington made a pair of free throws with 13.1 ticks left.
But Tyler Johnson hit a 3 with 4.1 remaining to pull the Heat within 104-102, and then the 76ers turned it over on their next possession.
Dwyane Wade had a chance to win it at the buzzer, but his 3-point attempt rimmed out.
“We needed everyone,” Philadelphia coach Brett Brown said. “The level of desperation we needed to show to come back from that massive of a deficit.The execution at the end was great.”
James Johnson had 22 points and Goran Dragic added 18 for the Heat, who have lost seven of eight. Hassan Whiteside added a double-double with 16 points and 10 rebounds for Miami.
Heat coach Erik Spoelstra remained positive after the defeat.
“We’re capable of getting over this hump and I believe we will,” he said.
The 76ers remained in seventh place in the Eastern Conference, one spot ahead of the Heat. Miami is 1½ games in front of ninth-placed Detroit for the final playoff spot in the East.
Heat: Kelly Olynyk (shoulder) missed his fourth straight game. . Wade had eight points in his third game back with the Heat since being traded from Cleveland. . Prior to the game, Spoelstra expressed his sympathy and extended his prayers for the victims of the Parkland shooting.
76ers: Justin Anderson (right ankle sprain) didn’t play after getting hurt in the second quarter of Monday’s 108-92 win over the Knicks. . Richaun Holmes, who didn’t play in five of the previous six games, had 11 points and nine rebounds. ... The last time the Sixers came back from 20-plus points to win was Dec. 23, 2014 at Miami when they came back from 23 down to win 91-87.
The contest was the final game before the All-Star break for both teams.
Heat: At New Orleans, Feb. 23.
76ers: At Chicago, Feb. 22.