The Philadelphia 76ers left it late, but found an extra gear in the fourth quarter to escape with a 106-102 win over the Miami Heat on Australian Heritage Night.
Aussie All-Star Ben Simmons poured in 21 points, seven rebounds and four assists, with all five 76ers starters finishing in double figures on the night
Tobias Harris led the way with 23 points and 11 rebounds, while Jimmy Butler added 18 points, JJ Redick 13 and Boban Marjanovic, who started in place of the injured Joel Embiid, dominated inside with 19 points and 12 rebounds on 6-of-7 shooting from the field.
Marjanovic had the hot hand early, scoring 11 points in the first quarter, giving the Heat plenty of trouble at the rim.
After a quiet first half, Simmons came to life in the second, pouring in 10 of the 76ers 16 points in the third quarter, taking advantage of the Heat's smaller lineups, with his trademark aggressive play inside.
🇦🇺 @BenSimmons25 had the hot hand with 🔟 points in the third quarter 🔥🔥#HereTheyCome pic.twitter.com/HdF2wsgrKp- NBA Australia (@NBA_AU) February 22, 2019
Miami outscored the 76ers 25-16 in the period, but eight-straight points from Simmons helped cut the deficit to 75-73 at the end of the period.
It went down to the wire from there, but three-pointers from Harris and Redick and an alley-oop from Simmons put the 76ers up 96-90 with 5:01 remaining.
Miami responded with a three from Josh Richardson and a timely bucket from Wade to cut the lead to 96-95, but again it was Redick coming up with the big plays, draining a three with 1:04 left to give the 76ers a 103-99 lead.
In Dwyane Wade's final visit to the Wells Fargo Center, the Heat legend starred off the bench with 19 points, six asssits and four rebounds, getting plenty of love from the Philly fans, none bigger than Allen Iverson who delivered this touching message pre-game.
.@alleniverson shares a message with @DwyaneWade before one last stop in Philadelphia.#OneLastDance | #HereTheyCome pic.twitter.com/2DsvrPLHaK- Philadelphia 76ers (@sixers) February 22, 2019
After the final buzzer, Wade picked out Simmons for the post-game jersey swap, capping off another stop on his 'retirement tour.'
gg @MiamiHEAT pic.twitter.com/MIS5rMu9XW- Philadelphia 76ers (@sixers) February 22, 2019
With Simmons and Jonah Bolden on the roster, the 76ers celebrated all things Australia on Australian Heritage Night, headlined by the half-time meat pie eating contest.
🇦🇺 What better way to celebrate Australian Heritage Night in Philly than with a half-time meat pie eating contest!!- NBA Australia (@NBA_AU) February 22, 2019
📺 Catch all the NBA action on NBA League Pass: https://t.co/63pU5FswAG pic.twitter.com/MGyEtb0yoA
The win moves the 76ers to 24-7 at home and a 38-21 record overall.