Maybe the matchup will be more intense next time.
The anticipated social media-fueled battle between Joel Embiid and Hassan Whiteside turned into a sidenote in the Sixers’ 103-97 win over the Heat.
There wasn’t that much to see from the Embiid-Whiteside pairing in the first half. Whiteside was sidelined early after picking up two fouls. After that, they alternated on the court because of substitutions in the second quarter.
Embiid recorded his 24th double-double of the season with 17 points and 11 rebounds. He shot 7 for 17 from the field and 0 for 4 from three. Whiteside appeared only 18 minutes with nine rebounds and four points (2 for 6 from the field) before sitting out the rest of the way with an illness.
We will have to wait and see if the competition continues beyond this game — where else? — on Twitter or Instagram.
• The victory was No. 100 for head coach Brett Brown as the Sixers snapped a three-game losing streak and moved back up over .500 (25-24). The Heat dropped to 29-23.
• The Sixers nearly lost a 28-point lead in the fourth. The Heat went on a 16-0 run at the start of the quarter. They cut the Sixers’ lead to as few as four points, 101-97, with 23 seconds to play in a lineup without Whiteside or All-Star Goran Dragic. Robert Covington committed what could have been a costly lost-ball turnover but Ben Simmons picked off a steal on the Heat’s next possession.
• Dario Saric jumpstarted the Sixers with 12 points in the first quarter. He posted 17 points and 10 rebounds with four assists on the night.
• Simmons scored 20 points to lead all players. He added six rebounds, five assists and two steals.
• Covington looked to break out of his shooting slump with 13 points (3 for 7 from three). At shootaround, Covington said he wasn’t going to force shots just to take them. “It comes within offense,” he said. “I'm not going to go outside and make myself go against our principles. That's never been me.”
• Backup shooting guard Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot sat out because of gastroenteritis. Jerryd Bayless, who did not play in the previous game, saw 12 minutes of action. Luwawu-Cabarrot’s absence also opened up an opportunity for Justin Anderson, who made the most of his 12 minutes with 11 points off 4 for 4 shooting.
• The Heat's bench tried to pick up the offense. Kelly Olynyk scored a team-high 19 points, followed by Wayne Ellington (16 points) and Bam Adebayo (15 points, 13 rebounds). Dragic was limited to 10 points in 23 minutes.
• Fans sang the Eagles’ fight song throughout the game on Brotherly Love Night. They concluded the game with a “We Want Brady” chant:
• Here’s your Markelle Fultz pregame video of the evening:
Markelle— Jessica Camerato (@JCameratoNBCS) February 2, 2018