In the Bonus | 02.15.18 vs Heat

by Brian Seltzer Reporter

The following notes and nuggets were taken from the 76ers’ February 14th 104-102 win over the Miami Heat.

Click here for a complete recap of the game, and be sure to check out our post-game pod below:

It was a game in which tiny details helped make for a comeback of monstrous proportions. In that vein, the theme for this edition of ‘In the Bonus’ will focus on some of the little things from Wednesday’s tilt (mostly from the second half) that eventually added up to a gutsy win propelling the Sixers into the All-Star break behind a season-high tying fifth straight wins.

Bonus Points:

After connecting on a pair of long 2-pointers early in Wednesday’s first quarter, JJ Redick went through a cold spell, missing his next seven shots, including five 3-point tries. But then, at the outset of the third period, with the Sixers facing a game-high 24-point deficit, Brett Brown schemed up an after-timeout play for the veteran sharpshooter, who, via a hard cut to the corner, got a wide-open look.

Redick smoothly swished the three, then canned a pull-up jumper from the top of the key the Sixers’ next trip down the floor. The possession after that, he assisted on a Saric triple, and in a flash - needing only 72 seconds - the Sixers had the building blocks of a 12-0 run in place. In hindsight, it was this third-quarter spurt that breathed life back into the Sixers, and served as the trigger for their comeback.

• The contributions from JJ Redick that understandably garnered the most attention in Wednesday’s win were his clutch deposits down the stretch of the fourth quarter. Also helpful to the Sixers’ cause, however, was that the 33-year old wasn’t afraid to do some dirty work. Not only did his seven rebounds match his second-highest total of the season, he also screened effectively, as evidenced by this sequence below that created a driving lane for Ben Simmons (particularly important on an evening Joel Embiid was absent).

Redick later set another key pick on this fourth quarter play, disrupting Josh Richardson’s defensive coverage of Marco Belinelli, who eventually had enough room to get off a timely 3-pointer while Wayne Ellington was in the midst of switching.

• One last nugget on JJ Redick. His fourth-quarter facilitating Wednesday was terrific, as he handed out three helpers during the Sixers’ big finish. This dime was no doubt the best of the bunch.

• Let’s move on now to Dario Saric. He was as crucial as anyone in jumpstarting the Sixers’ turnaround in Wednesday’s third quarter. The Croatian, bound for the Mtn Dew Kickstart Rising Stars Challenge for a second straight year, netted 14 of his 19 points in the frame. He nailed two 3-pointers, and, of equal importance, made his free throws, going 6 for 6 from the line.

• Just one person’s opinion, but the area where Dario Saric and his relentless spirit stood out the most Wednesday was his rebounding, specifically his offensive rebounding in the first half. During a stage of the game when Miami had all the momentum and was in complete control, there was Saric, consistently making bee line sprints to the basket once his teammates put up shots, as he did here, in the second quarter. In a game in which every possession proved pivotal, the Sixers certainly reaped the rewards of and tone set by Saric’s signature relentless hustle.

• So in love were we with the Sixers’ commitment to cleaning the offensive glass in Wednesday’s game that we decided to put together an offensive rebounding mixtape. Have at it:

• It’s hard not to be captivated by Ben Simmons’ explosive dashes to the rim and dunks, and his keen facilitating touch, but an aspect of the rookie’s game that Brett Brown seems to be extremely bullish on is defensive deception. That skill shined through in Wednesday’s fourth quarter, when Simmons came up with three steals.

“He can play like he’s [not] about to go steal it, either on ball or off ball, yet still do that,” said Brown. 

Brown has also been impressed with how Simmons has handled defending true point guards, and doing so more effectively than the head coach originally thought he’d be capable of doing.

The Aussie feels his length has allowed him to contain smaller counterparts at the point.  

“I think from the start of the season to now, I’ve gotten a lot better guarding the ball one-on-one, help defense,” Simmons said Wednesday. “I think overall I’ve just been a much better defender with time.”

• While this list of “little things” that the Sixers benefited from in Wednesday’s big win is by no means exhaustive or complete, we’ll end on this note. Since the Sixers acquired Marco Belinelli Monday via the buyout free agency market, Brett Brown has indicated the Italian will be able to inherit some of the same play calls designed for JJ Redick. Evident Wednesday was that, like Redick, Belinelli is an active mover off the ball, a trait that, whether he was on the perimeter, dancing along the baseline, or speeding down the floor in transition, helped him get baskets.

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