April 18, 2011

After a weekend of competitive basketball, the Heat won a laugher on Monday, blowing out the 76ers 94-73 to take a 2-0 series lead. Miami's Big Three combined for 64 points, while the Sixers shot only 34 percent from the field.

• Credit should be given to Miami's defense, but the Sixers' offense was nonexistent throughout, especially in the first half, putting them in a hole they were never able to overcome. After scoring 31 points in the first quarter Saturday, Philadelphia mustered only 31 points on 11-of-43 shooting (25.6 percent) in the entire first half of Game 2. And unlike Game 1, Miami wasn't throwing a zone defense at the Sixers, nor was there a dramatic disparity in attempted free throws. Philadelphia was just flat-out inept in the half-court, getting forced into poor jump shot after poor jump shot. And even when Philadelphia got to the rim, it didn't fare much better. The Sixers were only 3-of-13 on field goal attempts from within 8 feet in the first half.

• This was the kind of dominating postseason performance from LeBron James that you would expect, especially with Dwyane Wade recovering from migraines. LeBron's 29 points matched the output of Philadelphia's starters combined. More important, James was hitting shots from the perimeter that just weren't falling for him in Game 1, going 4-of-9 from 15 feet and out, including a ridiculous 27-foot three-pointer as the shot clock was expiring with 6:13 remaining in the third, extending Miami's lead to 61-42. About two minutes later, with Jrue Holiday blanketing him, LeBron pulled up from the free throw line, pump-faked, drew contact and got the friendly roll for a bucket and the foul. His six assists also led the team.

• As good as LeBron and Wade are, Philadelphia is going to have a hard time winning a game this series if it can't find an answer for Chris Bosh (21 points and a team-high 11 rebounds). The combination of Elton Brand and Thaddeus Young has not been able to keep him in check all series. Bosh was sensational in the first half, scoring 13 points on 6-of-7 shooting while grabbing seven rebounds. And he was hitting his shots from everywhere in every fashion, getting his first bucket in a pick-and-pop sequence with Mike Bibby, benefiting from the penetration of Mario Chalmers for the easy dunk near the six-minute mark of the second quarter and then putting on an incredible display of post and pivot moves against Young with about a minute to go in the first half, putting Miami ahead 46-29.

• Despite a disappointing rookie campaign, Evan Turner, the No. 2 pick last June, was a surprise source of offense off the bench for Philadelphia. He finished with 15 points, including 10 in the first half on 4-of-7 shooting (2-of-2 from three-point range). But what he provided in offense, he more than gave back in defense. With Andre Iguodala on the bench, Turner was assigned to LeBron and the King took advantage, immediately scoring after a post-up move near the 11-minute mark of the second quarter. When Turner was switched onto Wade later in the quarter, he was made to look foolish after Wade mixed in a series of jab steps just beyond the blocks, causing Turner to cheat toward the rim before Wade calmly stepped back and drilled the jumper.

• With Brand struggling on both ends and Spencer Hawes in early foul trouble, Sixers coach Doug Collins had the look of a desperate man in his frontcourt substitutions. At the 3:04 mark in the second, Collins inserted Young at center, flanked by Iguodala, Turner, Holiday and Lou Williams. The small-ball unit didn't do much to ignite the offense, failing to score in its 90 seconds together. In one last desperation move, Collins got a technical for contesting an out-of-bounds call with the Heat up 91-67 with 1:56 left in the game.

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