Sixers beat Heat in 5 games, advance to East Semifinals

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By Josh Liddick, Sports Talk Philly editor 

The Philadelphia 76ers (4-1) made good use of their home court advantage, defeated the Miami Heat 104-91 and advanced to the Eastern Conference Semifinals, winning the series 4 games to 1.

The series was a tough series for a multitude of reasons. The Heat never let up, but the Sixers did everything so much better, allowing them to come away with the series victory in dominating fashion.

Game 5 was everything and more as it started with a special guest ringing the bell, Meek Mill, who was just released from state prison earlier on Tuesday.

The buzz felt in the Wells Fargo Center crowd during that moment was one of the major factors in getting the crowd riled up to get the Sixers where they needed to be in order to win the ballgame.

The Sixers shot 42 percent from the field and saw four of their five starters finish in double digit scoring, with Dario Saric only scoring nine points on 2-of-9 shooting in just 23 minutes.

JJ Redick had yet another incredible game for the Sixers, leading the team with 27 points, 6-of-13 from the field, 5-of-10 from beyond the arc, and a perfect 10-of-10 from the foul line.

Joel Embiid posted a double-double in his home playoff debut, scoring 19 points with 12 rebounds, adding in two steals and a block.

Ben Simmons spent much of the second half in foul trouble, but managed to finish the game with 14 points, 10 boards, six assists, two steals, and a block.

Finally rounding out the starting five, Robert Covington hit a couple clutch 3-pointers, finishing with 10 points, five rebounds, and three assists.

The bench wasn't all that effective, although Marco Belinelli did score 10 points, with three rebounds, and three assists, without sinking a 3-pointer.

The Sixers were an abysmal 25 percent (7-28) from beyond, but luckily they didn't need the 3-ball in order to win the game in the end.

Tyler Johnson led the Heat starters with 16 points, Goran Dragic finished with 15, James Johnson finished with four points in 32 minutes, Josh Richardson, hampered with a lingering shoulder injury, ended up only playing seven minutes, not scoring a point on only one attempt.

Hassan Whiteside was a non-factor, going 0-for-4 on his shot attempts, finishing with just two points courtesy of the charity stripe in 10 minute.

Kelly Olynyk picked up Whiteside's slack, finishing with 18 points, eight rebounds, and six assists in 37 minutes off the pine.

Justise Winslow had 12 points off 3-of-9 shooting in 25 minutes off the bench, while the veteran Dwyane Wade, who could very possibly have played his final game for the Heat ever, finished with 11 points on 4-of-15 shooting with five rebounds and five assists in 31 minutes coming off the bench.

The Heat shot 38.6 percent from the floor as a unit, going 28.6 percent (10-35) from beyond, while shooting 59.1 percent (13-22) from the line.

The win for the Sixers is their first playoff series win since 2012, where they defeated the Chicago Bulls in six game en route to a semifinal berth against the Boston Celtics.

Now, six years later, the Sixers could very possibly face the Celtics again in the same round with hopes of advancing to their first Eastern Conference Finals since 2000-01.

If you haven't seen it already, watching the team douse Head Coach Brett Brown with water and chocolate milk following the series clinching win may just be the best thing you will watch tonight and most likely for the rest of the week.

The Sixers are legit, and they are moving on in the playoffs. Simply incredible.