Ben Simmons, Joel Embiid End Dwyane Wade, Heat's Playoff Hopes in Game 5

Alec Nathan@@AlecBNathanFeatured ColumnistApril 25, 2018

PHILADELPHIA, PA - APRIL 24: Ben Simmons #25 of the Philadelphia 76ers reacts during the game against the Miami Heat in Game Five of Round One of the 2018 NBA Playoffs on April 24, 2018 at Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. 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. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2018 NBAE (Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images)
Jesse D. Garrabrant/Getty Images

Hold up, wait a minute: The Miami Heat are finished. 

After Meek Mill opened Tuesday's Game 5 by ringing the ceremonial bell at the Wells Fargo Center following his release from prison, the Philadelphia 76ers stitched together a third-quarter surge and hung on late to defeat the Heat, 104-91, punching their ticket to the second round of the NBA playoffs. 

Joel Embiid, who made his first postseason appearance at home, spearheaded the closeout with an authoritative 19 points, 12 rebounds, two steals and one block. 

Ben Simmons flirted with his second triple-double of the series, finishing with 14 points, 10 boards and six assists. 

Sharpshooter JJ Redick, meanwhile, poured in a game-high 27 pointsincluding eight during a tide-turning third period during which Philadelphia outscored Miami by 14 after entering the half deadlocked at 46. 

However, the Sixers' long-range attack never caught fire the way it did in Games 1 and 3. 

Redick accounted for five of Philadelphia's seven made threes, as the Sixers leaned on a more rugged approach to overcome their long-range inefficiency. That formula, while not always pretty, proved effective.

Philly produced 29 makes on 36 trips to the charity stripe, and Embiid's imposing presence in the paint served as a steadying force. He shot 8-of-14 from the floor, while all other Sixers players combined to hit on 38.9 percent of their looks. 

Against a more high-powered offense, that discrepancy would have been problem. But as was the case all series long, the Heat couldn't muster the scoring spurts necessary to overcome a double-digit deficit.  

Kelly Olynyk led the way for Miami with 18 points in a solid outing off the bench, while Goran Dragic managed 15 points on 16 shots. Center Hassan Whiteside added two points and five boards to cap off a forgettable five games during which he cracked double figures and played more than 20 minutes in a single game only once. 

It was also an off night for 36-year-old Dwyane Wade, who scored 11 points on 4-of-15 shooting in what may have been his final game: 

While Wade prepares to deliberate over his future, a burgeoning Sixers squad will prepare for a second-round showdown against either the Boston Celtics or Milwaukee Bucks. 

Based on the poise they displayed in Round 1, it's fair to wonder whether the Sixers will be in the driver's seat regardless of their opponent as they seek their first Eastern Conference Finals appearance since 2001. 

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