Dwyane Wade Says Ben Simmons, Joel Embiid's 76ers Are 'Special'

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistApril 22, 2018

MIAMI, FL - APRIL 21: Dwyane Wade #3 of the Miami Heat attempts to drive to the basket as he is surrounded by Dario Saric #9 and Joel Embiid #21 of the Philadelphia 76ers in the fourth quarter during Game Four of Round One of the 2018 NBA Playoffs at American Airlines Arena on April 21, 2018 in Miami, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images)
Mark Brown/Getty Images

The Philadelphia 76ers stole Game 4 against the Miami Heat on Saturday, winning 106-102 despite turning the ball over 27 times, while taking a commanding 3-1 lead in the series.

After the game, Dwyane Wade offered high praise for the young Sixers, per David Murphy of Philly.com: 

"They're special. They put the right team together. I've said that multiple times.

"Ultimately, sometimes the playoffs becomes too big for certain guys, or some guys don't know how to match the intensity of the playoffs, or whatever the case may be. They play that way already. They already play to that intense level. They have an edge to them, and I think this series has given everybody a little more edge as well because of the physicality of the series."

There's little question the young Sixers seem poised beyond their years. They certainly showed as much in the past two games, winning both contests in Miami against a physical and scrappy Heat team that has done everything in its power to take the Sixers out of their comfort zone. 

But the Sixers have had the answers, especially late, outscoring the Heat 59-33 in the past two fourth quarters.

What has been so impressive about the Sixers is that they have done so with two players in their second years of NBA action (Joel Embiid and Dario Saric) and a rookie (Ben Simmons) in the starting lineup. 

Embiid had perhaps his worst offensive game of the season in Game 4, scoring just 14 points on 2-of-11 shooting, but he dominated the game on the defensive end, blocking five shots and contesting and altering nearly every Miami drive to the basket while he was on the court.

Saric struggled himself from the field, scoring 11 points on 4-of-13 shooting, but his eight rebounds—six on the offensive end alone—were a major factor as the Sixers won the battle on the boards, 65-56. 

And Simmons was once again brilliant in every facet, becoming the first rookie since Magic Johnson in 1980 to register a postseason triple-double with his 17 points, 13 rebounds and 10 assists.

"Every time you make a mistake, they make you pay," Wade noted. "Whether it was getting offensive rebounds, whether it was a miscommunication half-court wise where they were able to get Simmons for the dunk or JJ [Redick] for the shot, we've gotta do a better job, and we didn't. This is the kind of team where they don’t let you off the hook. You make one mistake, you take your foot off the gas for one second, they make you pay."

The series returns to Philadelphia for Game 5 on Tuesday, and if the other four games were any indication, the contest should be an absolute battle. But Wade, at the very least, expects the Sixers to mirror Miami's intensity.

"Outside of matching the energy that we play with, they execute very well, they are very well coached, and they have a lot of talent at a lot of different positions," he said. "This is definitely one of the best first-round series that I've ever played in, (the best) first-round opponent."

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