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Ersan Ilyasova Says Heat Arena Was 'Half-Empty' During Playoff Series vs. 76ers

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistApril 29, 2018

Philadelphia 76ers forward Ersan Ilyasova (23) reacts after his third-quarter score against the Miami Heat in Game 4 of a first-round NBA basketball playoff series, Saturday, April 21, 2018, in Miami. (AP Photo/Joe Skipper)
Joe Skipper/Associated Press

Philadelphia 76ers forward Ersan Ilyasova was not impressed with the crowds at AmericanAirlines Arena during his team's first-round series against the Miami Heat.

"When we were in Miami ... the gym was half-empty," Ilyasova said when discussing the comparisons between the Boston crowds he is about to face, per Ian Begley of ESPN.com. "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."

The 76ers' second-round series against the Boston Celtics begins Monday at TD Garden.

Despite Ilyasova's comments, ESPN.com summaries for Game 3 and Game 4 listed the crowds as 100 percent capacity.

That didn't stop the 76ers from coming away victoriously in both, and Begley granted Miami's "home arena is known as one of the tamer atmospheres in the league." The Heat fans are also famous for leaving early during Game 6 of the 2013 NBA Finals only to attempt to come rushing back after their team forced overtime on Ray Allen's late three.

It figures to be a different story when the red-hot 76ers go into Boston, and JJ Redick granted as much when he called his prior road playoff games against the Celtics when he was a member of the Orlando Magic "as intense of any playoff games I've played in my career," per Begley.

Philadelphia was 1-3 against Boston during the regular season, although the one win came on the road. It also won't be facing Kyrie Irving in the playoffs after the Celtics' go-to option was lost for the season with his knee injury.

Ben Simmons, Joel Embiid and the 76ers won their final 16 regular-season contests and dispatched the Heat in five games. This series against Boston will feature a more raucous opposing crowd, but nobody is playing better than Philadelphia.

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