PHILADELPHIA (AP) – Joel Embiid hoisted the tiny comedian Kevin Hart, not unlike the way a parent would upset a toddler. Embiid then pulled him into a hug as confetti rained in the square, team flags wafted around them, and the promise of a wild nightly celebration was on deck.
Hart grabbed the microphone and yelled, "Let's give it to Joel Embiid!"
Believe it, Philly.
In the postseason, the 76ers and rappers, politicians, actors and athletes dance along.
Embiid and Ben Simmons shone again ahead of rapper Meek Mill, and the dominant duo led the Philadelphia 76ers' Nightmare-in-Dream process into the second round on Tuesday night with a 1
The 76ers, winners of 10 games two seasons ago, are in the second round of the Eastern Conference playoffs for the first time since 2012.
"I somehow promised the city," said Embiid.
The Sixers won Series 4-1, turning the Wells Fargo Center into the city's wildest house party. Embiid had 19 points and 12 rebounds, Simmons had 14 points and 10 boards, and the entire team was driven by Mills surprising appearance. Mill made a dramatic return for hours to Pennsylvania's highest court ordered him released while addressing centuries-old gun and drug convictions.
He was taken by helicopter from prison to Philadelphia, where he rang the ceremonial bell at the beginning of Game 5.
"Welcome home Meek Mill," was all that was heard of the announcement of the public address when wild cheers drowned the rest. Mill sat next to the co-owner of Hart and Sixers, Michael Rubin.
Before the game, Mill privately visited the Sixers in their locker room.
"To get this kind of game … I was just happy," said Embiid.
Trash talked hard, wandered over to the edge of the field to tease fans, and was hanging out with Mill in his youth and getting involved. Sixers has proven that they are perhaps the team to beat in the East.
You will have plenty of time to rest and recover – Embiid once again played in a black mask to prevent a facial injury – with the other Eastern Conference playoff series scheduled for the weekend.
They are waiting for the winner of Milwaukee-Boston. The Celtics lead the series 3-2.
The '76s buzzed as Mills release made headlines in the city. Rubin had organized prison trips with Embiid, Simmons, and Markelle Fultz, and the rapper's songs played in the locker room and during the warm-up exercises.
Simmons described Mills presence as "amazing."
"If we only have someone who respects all of us, it would only mean a lot to him to be with the fans in Philadelphia in the city of Philadelphia, especially with such a game tonight." Simmons said.
Mill slipped into the locker room 45 minutes before tipping and hugged some of the Sixers. Mill was confronted with a crush of media and celebrity fans as he tried to take his place at the court place. Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie and retired boxer Bernard Hopkins sat near Hart and Mill and Democratic Governor Tom Wolf joined them in the second half. The national champion Villanova Wildcats posed for pictures with mill in the locker room.
What they saw was just the final blow of a franchise whose libelous rebuilding has become one of the trendiest sports terms.
The Sixers outperformed the Heat by 14 in the third quarter to make a Tie game and had fans "Trust the Process!"
Goran Dragic was whistled after a technical strike after hitting Simmons on the back of his head, causing the crowd to howl early in the third. Simmons kept his calm – the beginner is rarely shaken – and made the heat pay. JJ Redick sank the free-throw of the technical and Simmons kicked the ball to Robert Covington on possession for a 3 and a 54-48 lead. Redick followed with his third 3, and Philly was litty again.
Redick, who scored 27 points, dipped the dagger late in the fourth, which started the party. Coach Brett Brown was showered with water and sports drinks in the locker room.
"We have more to do, we have more to give," Brown said.
Heat : Josh Richardson played with a sprained left shoulder. He picked up three fouls in his first two minutes. … James Johnson was hit with personal and technical fouls late in the fourth, which ended a 10-0 Miami run. … Justise Winslow led the heat with 18 points.
76ers : Redick was whistled for a technical foul in the first half. … missed 10 of 12 3s in the first half.
Dwyane Wade is considering retiring. He congratulated Embiid after the game ("The NBA is in good hands with Joel") and said that he had "not asked for a better end" this season than to return to the heat. Wade made no decision about his future.
"You'll make me emotional when we think about it or talk about it," said Heatcoach Erik Spoelstra.