The Philadelphia 76ers suffered their first loss in more than a month and Ben Simmons was not happy about it.
“I hate this feeling,” the 21-year-old Australian told reporters in the 76ers’ locker room after the 17-game win streak was snapped.
The Miami Heat aggressively went after Simmons and his 76ers teammates on Monday in Philadelphia to take game two of the NBA playoff series 113-103.
It was a turnaround from the 27-point shellacking the 76ers gave the Heat in game one on Saturday when Simmons was given space to run the floor and deliver precision passes to his long-range shooters JJ Redick, Dario Saric, Ersan Ilyasova and Marco Belinelli.
The Heat halted that in game two by sending a rotation of defenders to get in Simmons’ face and harass his shooters.
The strategy rattled the 76ers, particularly in the second quarter when they scored just 13 points to the Heat’s 34.
“I thought the physicality of the game, I give them credit,” 76ers coach Brett Brown said.
“They were bending us backwards.”
The 76ers were down 16 points late in the fourth quarter, but with Simmons, Saric, Ilyasova and Belinelli finding the basket they cut the Heat’s lead to two with four minutes to go.
Heat veteran Dwyane Wade came off the bench, steadied his squad and hit clutch baskets.
Simmons flirted with another triple-double with 24 points, eight assists and eight rebounds.
The 36-year-old Wade top-scored with 28 points and was impressed with the 21-year-old from Melbourne.
“That kid is not even a kid,” Wade said.
“He’s a basketball player, man.
“He does so many different things for his team.”
Game three is on Thursday in Miami.
In Oakland, Australia’s Patty Mills scored 21 points but it was not enough as the San Antonio Spurs fell again to the reigning champion Golden State Warriors.
The Warriors won 116-101 at Oracle Arena to take a 2-0 lead in the series with Kevin Durant leading the way with 32 points.
The Spurs took it to the Warriors early and led 53-47 at half-time.
“I think in the second-half we matched their defensive intensity,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said.
Mills’ 21 points was a personal playoff record and a return to form after the struggles he suffered in game one on Saturday.
Mills was again given the difficult defensive task of guarding the taller Klay Thompson, who had 31 points including connecting on five of his eight three-point attempts.
LaMarcus Aldridge was the best for the Spurs with 34 points and 12 rebounds.
Game three is in San Antonio on Thursday.