Dwyane Wade

Some Sixers fans really don't want Kevin Hart at Game 3 in Philly

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USA Today

Some Sixers fans really don't want Kevin Hart at Game 3 in Philly

The Sixers bounced back in a big way in game 2 up in Toronto on Monday night which, in addition to making the series competitive heading back to Philadelphia, allowed Philly fans everywhere to gain a few notches in their Trash Talking meters.

Count comedian Kevin Hart among us.

Hart may have found a target to unleash his many words upon:

Musical stylings aside, I don't think a single person who roots for the Sixers enjoyed seeing Drake courtside up in The Six cheering on his Raptors and talking smack. Hart, being a well-established Philly sports fan, tweeted at Drake after the game.

Only problem is, Hart doesn't have the best track record when it comes to attending Sixers games. One brilliant sports writer wondered in 2018 if we need to ban Kevin Hart from attending Sixers games.

James Harden and Dwyane Wade have famously said that Hart's antics motivated them to torch the Sixers. It has been ugly in the past.

So when Hart tweeted at Drake, the response was an overwhelming "please don't go to the game!" from his followers. A sampling:

https://twitter.com/JoeG4133/status/1123214417200668672

Now, Hart may have bad luck at Sixers games, but he's not a total mush. Although he may at times be a lush. Remember that time the Eagles won the Super Bowl and Hart made a big scene?

So, keep an eye out for Hart courtside on Thursday. If the Sixers lose, you'll have someone to blame other than Kawhi and Brett.

Heat 122, Sixers 99: In Dwyane Wade's last dance, shorthanded Sixers fall to Heat

Heat 122, Sixers 99: In Dwyane Wade's last dance, shorthanded Sixers fall to Heat

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It looked like one team was fighting for its playoff life and trying to send off an NBA legend in grand fashion, while the other team … wasn’t.

In Dwyane Wade’s final game in Miami, the Heat beat up on the shorthanded Sixers, 122-99, at American Airlines Arena.

With Joel Embiid, JJ Redick and Mike Scott resting and the Eastern Conference’s third seed all wrapped up, this game didn’t profile well for a win. Miami went 6 of 9 from three on its way to a 34-20 first-quarter lead and the Sixers never recovered.

The loss drops them to 50-31 on the season.

Here are observations from the game:

• If you were expecting D-Wade to pull a Kobe Bryant and jack up 40 shots in his farewell, sorry for the disappointment. Wade simply played his game and was very good, scoring 30 points in 34 minutes. The 13-time All-Star looks like he could keep going, but good for the 37-year-old for hanging it up on his own terms.

• For most of the game, Ben Simmons and Boban Marjanovic looked like the only truly effective Sixers. 

Simmons pushed the tempo and was looking to score on his drives. He was scoring efficiently, but wasn’t doing much in the assist department — a big ask when your team shoots below 40 percent (when Simmons was in the game) from the field. He played just 21 minutes in this one, finishing with 16 points on 7 of 12.

Marjanovic was his usual efficient self offensively, going 6 of 10 for 12 points, but also showed why playing him as Embiid’s backup in the postseason is a concern. Both Bam Adebayo and Hassan Whiteside were able to sneak behind Marjanovic for easy lobs. Both centers also hit jumpers that Marjanovic couldn’t get out to contest.

• Speaking of the backup center spot, Jonah Bolden was questionable with knee soreness coming in and played just 12 minutes before heading to the locker room for the night. There’s certainly concern there. Bolden could be a key piece for this team as Brett Brown has also used Bolden at the four recently.

• Jimmy Butler was back in the lineup after missing the last two games with back tightness. He looked predictably rusty, going 2 of 5 for four points in 15 first-half minutes. Butler is close with Wade and likely didn't want to miss this one.

Tobias Harris, who is currently on pace to play 83 games this season, was ice cold from the field, going 3 of 16 for six points. He played 20 minutes in the first half and also did not return.

Brown emptied out his bench in this one as even Haywood Highsmith got run. The rookie wing actually broke up an attempt by Wade to throw a ball off the backboard for a dunk in the fourth. I get the conext of the moment for Wade, but good for Highsmith.

• We got our first look at Zhaire Smith as a starter and our first look at Furkan Korkmaz since Feb. 12.

Smith continues to show off the traits that made him a first-round pick. He has such quick feet and decent instincts defensively. He also filled lanes well and showed a little something as a cutter. Simmons hit him on one look out of the post which drew a foul. Simmons tried a lob for the rookie a little later, but threw it too high for even the freakishly athletic Smith. He also had a nice finish over Whiteside after the veteran center blocked him earlier. That fearlessness will help if the 19-year-old gets playoff minutes. He's also been solid from three, going 4 of 11 in five games.

It’s been a while since we’ve seen Korkmaz, but as was the case when he was getting regular minutes earlier this season, it was a mixed bag. You saw plenty of lapses on the defensive end, but he did make a nice read on one possession, getting into a passing lane, getting a steal and an easy bucket. His calling card is supposed to be his shot, but he’s shooting just 33 percent from three this season. He missed his only attempt from three in seven minutes.

Jonathon Simmons also got his first extended minutes in quite some time and actually looked pretty good. On the defensive end, you can see why a team once signed him to a decent NBA deal. He's struggled on offense, but put up 14 points on 5 of 9 and also dished out eight assists. It’s been a little surprising to not see Simmons get back into the mix when James Ennis got hurt. He lost “the tournament” to Ennis, but has a wealth of playoff experience.

With Ennis likely to miss multiple playoff games, someone will need to give the Sixers a couple minutes from the wing. None of the choices are ideal, but with defense being at a premium during the postseason, I'd go with Smith. He's active and can keep a guard in front of him. Let the kid play.

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Sixers 106, Heat 102: Boban Marjanovic, Tobias Harris lead way in win

Sixers 106, Heat 102: Boban Marjanovic, Tobias Harris lead way in win

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The Tobi and Bobi show has officially launched in Philadelphia.

The duo led the Joel Embiid-less Sixers to a 106-102 win over the Miami Heat at Wells Fargo Center on Thursday night.

The victory puts the Sixers at 24-7 at home and 38-21 overall.

Here are observations from the win.

• With Embiid out, Boban Marjanovic got the start and the Sixers didn’t miss a beat early. Marjanovic was a perfect 4 of 4 from the field for a game-high 11 points in the first quarter.

Aside from being a massive human, Marjanovic is actually pretty damn skilled. He has excellent touch around the basket and even a little extended.

His passing is also impressive. He’s excellent at finding cutters. He’s also an exceptional screener and roller.

You could make the argument he was the Sixers' best player, finishing with 19 points and 12 rebounds. Like Embiid, he does have his issues with ball security. He had five turnovers. The team also certainly missed Embiid's presence on defense.

• The Jimmy Butler at point guard experiment is still intriguing. There are times when Butler just sort of blends in offensively because of the firepower the Sixers now have. Playing the one allows Butler to get the ball in his hands early in the possession.

He’s also an underrated playmaker that takes care of the basketball. When the playoffs arrive, we should see more of Butler at the point — maybe with Ben Simmons playing a more traditional four.

Simmons will still have the ability to grab the ball off the rim and do his thing in transition, like on this play to Butler.

Butler was clearly the focal point of the offense, posting 18 points (5 of 14), six assists and six rebounds.

• Good thing Elton Brand got this Tobias Harris guy. Harris showed off his versatile offensive game once again. He was just 4 of 11 from the field and 1 of 5 from three for 12 points through three quarters. He then made an effort to attack more off the dribble and look for shots around the rim. That led to a 4 of 4, 11-point fourth quarter. Shooters shoot and Harris continued to do so even when he struggled early. He finished with a game-high 23 points and 11 rebounds.

• The substitutions were interesting Thursday and they’ll likely continue to be as Brett Brown figures out his playoff rotation.

Simmons was again out with the first wave of subs along with JJ Redick. That means Brown wanted to take a look at the Simmons-Redick pairing, which didn’t work out too well offensively with Jonah Bolden, Jonathon Simmons and Mike Scott rounding out the five on the floor.

Brown went with a Simmons-Harris pairing in the second half, which seemed to fare slightly better, but not much.

Simmons in general struggled in the first half (2 of 6, seven points), but looked much better in the second, getting more post touches against some of the Heat's smaller defenders. He recorded 21 points, seven rebounds and four assists. 

When Miami went small with Kelly Olynyk at the five, it allowed Brown to use Simmons as a five and have T.J. McConnell run the point with Marjanovic on the bench. That lineup is the one that got the Sixers back in front in the fourth quarter for good.

• The bench as a whole didn’t produce a ton, combining for just 12 points, but two guys stood out.

McConnell provided his typical energy and mid-range shooting. He made a very T.J. McConnell play, fronting Dwyane Wade and forcing an errant pass. As the ball was about to go out of bounds, McConnell saved it and it led to a Harris layup. As long as Brown picks his matchups with McConnell wisely, he can provide plenty.

The other reserve that stood out was Jonathon Simmons. Simmons is a legitimate NBA perimeter defender. He hasn't been a very good shooter throughout his NBA career, but he does have a little game off the dribble. He had a nice baseline drive and dunk late in the first half.

• Thursday was Dwyane Wade’s final regular season game in Philadelphia. They played a video featuring Sixers legend Allen Iverson honoring him. The Wells Fargo Center crowd cheered after the video ... but booed when he actually checked into the game. Never change, Philly.

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