(Sports Network) – Philadelphia gave heavily-favored Miami quite a scare in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals. Now, the 76ers will attempt to even the set when the two clubs hook up again in the shadow of South Beach.
Chris Bosh scored 25 points and grabbed 12 rebounds on Saturday, as the second-seeded Heat held off the 76ers, 97-89.
“He (Bosh) was good on the glass (as he’s been all year) and he was active,” Miami head coach Erik Spoelstra said. “We were able to run some offense through him. I think all of us in general will be better and more efficient offensively as the series goes on.”
LeBron James added 21 points, 14 boards and three blocks for Miami, which went 58-24 this season en route to winning the Southeast Division.
“At the end of the day that’s what we want, we want a challenge,” James said. “I know those guys (76ers) like a challenge. We have to be into it with a game plan until that final horn sounds and all zeros are on the clock.”
Despite a brewing migraine headache, Dwyane Wade donated 17 points, including five in the final 1:34, seven rebounds and five assists for Miami, which got a boost on the defensive end from role players Joel Anthony and Mario Chalmers after falling behind by as many as 14 points early.
Thaddeus Young finished with 20 points and 11 boards off the bench for the seventh-seeded Sixers, who went 41-41 this season under first-year head coach Doug Collins.
Jrue Holiday chipped in with 19 points, five rebounds and five assists for Philadelphia, which is in the playoffs for the third time in the past four years.
Elton Brand added 17 points and seven boards in defeat and Andre Iguodala was ineffective offensively, scoring just four points, but the swingman, who was returning to the lineup after missing the final two regular season games with right knee tendinitis, had eight rebounds and nine assists.
Trailing by 13, 88-75, at the midway mark of the fourth, the Sixers made one last push with a 12-0 run. Young made back-to-back layups around a Chalmers turnover to get Philadelphia going.
The Heat missed two shots before Brand blocked Anthony’s shot. Holiday then made a pair of three-pointers to make it a three-point contest with 3:58 to play. The next points didn’t come until Young made a layup with 2:23 to go to get Philly within one, 88-87.
Bosh made two free throws to finally stop the bleeding and Brand missed a jumper at the other end, leading to a conventional three-point play from Wade that basically sealed things.
“It looked like they were gonna run us out, but we pushed back and we had a great chance,” Collins said.
The Heat attempted 39 free throws in the game to just 15 for the Sixers and also outrebounded Philadelphia 52-39.
Wade was unable to practice Sunday because of the migraine, a problem that has plagued the veteran All-Star for years. His status for Game 2 is up in the air but James isn’t concerned.
“He’ll be here,” the reigning two-time MVP said.
“We’ll have to see how he feels at the end of the day,” Spoelstra added. “We really wanted to be proactive right now and keep him rested and take medicine and we’ll go from there.”
Miami swept Philadelphia in a three-game season series in 2010-11, winning by an average of 10 points a contest. The teams have never met before in the postseason.
Game 3 of this best-of-seven series is set for Thursday back in the City of Brotherly Love.