I picked the Philadelphia 76ers to win the series over the Miami Heat in six, however, did not think they would dominate in five games.
Rapper Robert Rihmeek Williams, known professionally as Meek Mill, was free on bail a few hours before game five, Mill traveled to the game by helicopter provided by 76ers co-owner Michael Rubin to witness his team eliminate the Heat 104-91 as the process continues onward to the second round.
And the 76ers are picking up many on their bandwagon along the way. The 76ers, winners of 10 games just two seasons ago, are in the second round of the Eastern Conference playoffs for the first time since 2012.
Mill born in South Philadelphia has always supported the city of brotherly love’s 76ers with the same support in return; also from the Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles. However recently the support has been unparalleled.
Mill is lyrically quoted to say “And I flipped that to a bird and bounced back like word.” This Sixers team has done that. The buzz is this is the team to beat out of the east now.
The Sixers outscored the Heat by 14 in the third quarter to crack a tie game and had fans chanting, “Trust the Process!”
“Through rough times, through adversity for sure we didn’t blink,” 76ers coach Brett Brown stated. “We stayed strong in what we were trying to do, to walk off that court, we have more to do, we have more to give.”
Sixers outscored the Heat by 78 points in the second half during the series.
Sixers sealed the series 4-1 and the Wells Fargo Center “was lit.” Embiid had 19 points and 12 rebounds, Simmons had 14 points and ten boards, and the entire team was energized by Mill’s surprise appearance. Mill made a dramatic return hours after Pennsylvania’s highest court ordered him freed while he appeals decade-old gun and drug convictions.
“For him to come to this type of game … I was just happy,” Embiid said.
The 76ers were hyped once Mill’s release was trending nationwide. Rubin had organized prison trips with Embiid, Simmons and Markelle Fultz, and the rapper’s songs played in the locker room and during warmups.
Before the game, Mill visited privately with the Sixers in their locker room. Comedian Kevin Hart took to Instagram adding his jokes to a video illustrating Mill pregame freshening up adding Mill gained weight while in prison. Mill sat courtside next to Hart and Sixers co-owner Rubin.
Miami cut Philly’s 18-point second half lead to 95-87 with 2:57 remaining on a Wayne Ellington three-pointer but that was all the rapping the Heat did for the night.
The big elephant in the room for the Heat is Hassan Whiteside who was supposed to be part of the headlining matchup battling All-Star center Embiid. In game five, Whiteside finished with two points and five rebounds in a series low 10 minutes.
Whiteside played fewer minutes than Embiid in the series, and Whiteside had more fouls than he made shots. That is not good. Embiid averaged almost 19 points in his three games. Whiteside nearly made 24 million in salary this season the same as the New Orleans Pelicans Anthony Davis.
The Heat collectively shot under 40 percent from the field and finished 10 of 35 from three-point range. Miami starters combined for 37 points.
76ers await the winner of the Milwaukee-Boston series. The Celtics lead the series 3-2. The Heat travel back home to sunny weather.