The Miami Heat are expected to play more aggressively against the 76ers tonight in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals. Miami center Hassan Whiteside is expected to wake up from his slumber. And the Heat are expected to do everything in their power to fly back to Miami with the best-of-seven series tied at one game apiece.
Sixers reserve Marco Belinelli has a remedy for all that.
"Tonight, it's important to start the game well, immediately," he after Monday's shoot-around. "You know like setting the right tone of the game. We know that they are going to be aggressive on offense and defense.
"So for us, I think it's just important to be ready to play our game."
The Sixers did that in the second half of their 130-103 victory Saturday night in the opener. The Heat didn't have any answers.
Philly made 11 of 15 three-pointers (73.3 percent) after intermission. The Sixers also had assists on 19 of 26 baskets during that time, compiling a 74-43 second-half scoring advantage. That came after the Sixers trailed by four at intermission.
The burst came partly because Miami couldn't combat the Sixers' starting Ersan Ilyasova at center to begin the second half. He was a matchup problem as the Sixers spaced the floor and neutralized Miami's big man, Whiteside, who played just 12 minutes, 26 seconds.
Ilyasova finished with 10 points on 4-for-4 shooting and grabbed six rebounds in the quarter. The reserve collected 17 points and 14 rebounds for the game. JJ Redick scored a game-high 28 points for the Sixers, and Belinelli added 25.