In the narrow view of this first round series, the Sixers’ dramatic 86-82 win yesterday means little. The powerful Heat, still up 3-1, remain a strong bet to advance.
But in the grand scheme of this rebuilding plan, getting over the hump against a team like Miami is a giant step forward. For a young group with little playoff experience, riding into the offseason with broomsticks glued to their backs would have been a black cloud.
“It kind of means the world. We didn’t want to go home,” Jrue Holiday said.
They were nearly forced to swallow another nail-biting loss in this series, but a Lou Williams’ desperation 3-pointer with 8.1 seconds left gave the Sixers a lead they hung on to. The shot capped an 8-0 run over the final 1:22 of the basketball game.
“For anybody who wondered what our team was going to come out with today, that was answered,” coach Doug Collins said. “It’s what they’ve been doing all season.”
That scrappy, fighting attitude has been the Sixers’ calling card under Collins. Although the talent gap between these two teams is vast, three of the series’ four games have come down to the wire.
“They have our full attention,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said.