The first round of the NBA playoffs continues today with Game 2 in the Miami-Philadelphia and San Antonio-Golden State series. Follow along here for the latest analysis and commentary from The Post’s NBA reporter Tim Bontemps, and ask him questions in the comments section.
Schedule | Pregame reading | Comments section QA
Sixers go on a run
A 17-5 Sixers run has pulled Philadelphia within four with 5:47 remaining in front of a raucous crowd inside Wells Fargo Center, as the Heat try to hang on and get themselves back into this series — and Philadelphia tries to put a hammer lock on it.
The Heat have gotten some decent looks, but Philadelphia has finally made some threes and gotten out in transition to get itself back in the game and wind things up.
This should be a fun final few minutes.
Vintage Dwyane Wade has Sixers ahead
The Philadelphia 76ers were unsustainably hot from three-point range (18 for 28) in Game 1. Dwyane Wade is unsustainably hot from everywhere in Game 2.
The future Hall of Famer is having a vintage performance through three quarters, scoring 23 points on 9-for-12 shooting in just 16 minutes so far as the Heat head into the fourth quarter with an 11-point lead.
It hasn’t helped the Sixers that they are shooting 4 for 24 from three in this one, either. Regression to the mean, anyone?
How do you beat a full-court press out of a timeout? Throw a touchdown pass.
Dario Saric to Ben Simmons for six! Carson Wentz — or Nick Foles — to Zach Ertz wouldn’t have looked prettier to Philadelphia fans.
Steve Kerr isn’t won’t answer strategy questions. That’s nonsense.
The final question of Steve Kerr’s news conference was a simple one: Will Andre Iguodala remain in the starting lineup for a second straight game?
Here was Kerr’s response:
“I’m no longer going to be magnanimous in our information sharing. … You can ask me, [but] I’m not going to answer.”
The thing about this is, Kerr hardly ever answers strategy questions. This is a thing among coaches; Sixers Coach Brett Brown did it earlier Monday. The thinking goes that, with opponents paying attention to these news conferences, the coaches would rather keep their information close to the vest as long as possible.
Personally, I think this is nonsense. There isn’t an adjustment that these teams haven’t spent hours considering ahead of time. No extra half-hour of thinking is going to fix it. This is one of the few ways that the NBA is like the NFL.
But now, at least from Kerr’s perspective, he’s made it official.
Will opponents start daring Markelle Fultz to shoot?
It’s really been remarkable that Markelle Fultz has been able to return after missing most of the season and immediately make an impact for Philadelphia.
But it will be interesting to see — either in this series or as the playoffs progress — whether teams begin to try to dare him into being more involved as a shooter.
Fultz’s latest attempt — a step-back fadeaway in the baseline corner —resulted in an airball, and his shot still looks shaky. Could a team choose to employ the “Hack-A” strategy with him? Could they decide not to be within 10 feet of him when he has the ball?
Fultz isn’t going to play many minutes, but moves like that could make it difficult for Sixers Coach Brett Brown to play him at all.
An uneven start for Goran Dragic in Game 2
One thing that had to happen in Game 2 for Miami: getting Goran Dragic more involved. The Heat’s all-star point guard was all but invisible in Game 1, playing 31 ineffectual minutes that saw him score 15 points on 14 shots.
So it was a great sign for the Heat that Dragic came out aggressive in the opening minutes of Game 2, scoring six quick points. What was not so great of a sign? Him also picking up two fouls within the first five minutes of Monday night’s game and heading straight to the bench.
As one of the few Miami players who can consistently break down a defense, that could prove to be a key moment in the game.
What will the Heat do with Hassan Whiteside?
There are two things to watch in the opening game of tonight’s NBA playoff doubleheader between the Miami Heat and Philadelphia 76ers: how much Hassan Whiteside plays, and how effective he is when he does.
Whiteside was dreadful in Game 1 on Saturday night, scoring two points on 1-for-4 shooting with two turnovers in 12 minutes. Most importantly, Whiteside was minus-16, with much of that coming in Philadelphia’s game-changing run to start the third quarter that put the Sixers ahead for good.
After the game, Whiteside said he had faith in the coaching staff, but there have been trust issues between him and Heat Coach Erik Spoelstra for some time now. The blame for those issues lies with Whiteside, who has proven to be as unreliable as everyone thought he might be when Miami signed him to a four-year max contract two years ago.
Now, the goal for the Heat has to be to limit Whiteside’s minutes until Joel Embiid comes back in this series — because that is when Whiteside can have an impact. Embiid has already been ruled out of Game 2, however, so Whiteside’s role should be limited Monday night. How limited, and what happens if Spoelstra makes it really limited bears watching — not just for this series, but also as a prelude to a potential move away from Whiteside this summer (if Miami can find a taker for him).
- Miami Heat at Philadelphia 76ers, 8 p.m. (TNT)
- San Antonio Spurs at Golden State Warriors, 10:30 p.m. (TNT)
Hop into the comments section below starting at 7 p.m. to chat with The Post’s Tim Bontemps about all of your NBA questions.