Playoffs 2018 East First Round: 76ers (3) vs. Heat (6)

Ersan Ilyasova: Miami Heat home playoff games had 'half-empty' crowds

From NBA media reports

* Tonight on TNT: Sixers vs. Celtics (8 ET)

The adjustments the Philadelphia 76ers have to make from their first-round series against the Miami Heat to the Eastern Conference semifinals opener against the Boston Celtics are many. That’s just the way it works in the playoffs, when the team that adjusts first and most effectively tends to find its way deeper and deeper into the postseason.

There is one huge adjustment that Sixers forward Ersan Ilyasova says his team will have to make for the series, but it comes off the court this time. The crowds in Miami won’t compare to what the Sixers face in Boston when the NBA’s oldest (and nastiest) rivalry is rekindled tonight at The Garden. Ian Begley of ESPN.com explains:

“When we were in Miami … the gym was half-empty,” Sixers reserve Ersan Ilyasova said after the team’s practice. “But when you go to Boston, you will feel it. Even in the regular season, you know when you play that team, the arena is full, and they’re really committed fans.”

Redick, who has played in 12 postseasons, said the playoff games he played in Boston while with the Orlando Magic “were as intense of any playoff games I’ve played in my career.”

The Sixers won both road games of their first-round series against the Heat, whose home arena is known as one of the tamer atmospheres in the league. Philadelphia will face a different challenge in Boston, where the club needs to win at least one game to advance past the No. 2 seed Celtics.

“It’s always tough to play at their place,” Ilyasova said. “It’s always crowded, and we have to come up with a lot of energy and edge to win the game.”

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