CAMDEN, N.J. — The Sixers have pushed the Heat to the brink of elimination and now they are hunkering down for yet another battle in this hard-fought first-round matchup.
The Sixers do not anticipate closing out the series Tuesday night at home to be any easier than the first four grind-it-out games.
“You don’t have to be a wise man to know what is about to happen, what style of play they’re going to try to play,” Brett Brown said before practice Monday. “Especially when they’re going to go home if they’re not able to find a win. We understand that.”
The Sixers are returning to the Wells Fargo Center up 3-1 after completing the challenging task of taking two straight games on the road. As they prepare for what could be a deciding game, they are focused on fixing their mistakes from the previous ones. The Sixers overcame giving up 30 points on 27 turnovers, shooting 7 for 31 from three, and trailing by 12 in Game 4.
“I said it after the game and I’ll say it again now: we were very fortunate to win that game,” Brown said. “The discipline that we did not show offensively and defensively in the first three periods, especially as I go back and watch it, can’t happen.”
Regardless of the final score, the Heat have proven to be a feisty squad each night. The tussle between Robert Covington, James Johnson and Ben Simmons exemplified the spirit of the series. The teams were whistled for a combined 10 technical fouls in Games 3 and 4.
Goran Dragic said the Heat are not going to show up at the Wells Fargo Center to surrender. The Sixers don’t anticipate them to, either.
“A team like Miami, their culture, their organization, their group of guys, they have fighters, they have warriors on their team,” JJ Redick said. “Every game in this series has been tough. There’s no expectations that Game 5 will be any different.”
The Sixers have not advanced out of the first round since 2012, the last time they were in the playoffs. With a 3-1 lead, their objective Tuesday is clear.
“Our mindset is to close it out,” Joel Embiid said.