Michael Carter-Williams impressed in his first career game with nine steals, setting a record for the most in an NBA debut, as the Philadelphia 76ers opened their season with a shocking 114-110 win over the Miami Heat at Wells Fargo Center.
Carter-Williams also had 22 points, 12 assists, and seven rebounds in Brett Brown’s first game as head coach of the 76ers. Evan Turner led the team in scoring with 26 points, while Spencer Hawes added 24 points and nine rebounds on the night of Philadelphia legend Allen Iverson’s retirement.
The 76ers’ win snapped a string of 15 straight losses to the Heat, which included their last seven in Philadelphia.
“At the end of the day it’s a basketball game,” Carter-Williams said of facing the defending champs. “Miami is a great team, they came out pretty strong and we just stayed with it and stayed together as a team.”
LeBron James tallied 25 points and 13 assists for Miami, which won convincingly at home over the Bulls in its season debut on Tuesday. Chris Bosh scored 22 points with 10 rebounds, while Ray Allen and Mario Chalmers both contributed four 3-pointers in defeat.
The Heat decided to sit All-Star guard Dwayne Wade for precautionary reasons.
Philadelphia shocked the Heat with a 19-0 run to start the game. The run was the largest to start a game since February 21, 2004. The 76ers displayed excellent ball movement in their dominant first quarter. They went 11-of-11 until Turner missed a shot at the 4:51 mark of the first.
Carter-Williams, the 11th overall pick in this past year’s draft, opened the game with a steal off Roger Mason Jr. and then dunked for his first career points. The Heat could not get their offense going until James made a layup nearly five minutes into the game.
The 76ers took a 33-14 lead into the second. The momentum shifted as the Heat opened up the quarter with a 14-1 run. Chalmers and Mason Jr. made back-to- back threes to pull Miami within one with 1:25 left in first half. James was fouled en route to the basket and made Philadelphia pay by draining both free throws to end the first half with the 76ers only leading by two, 51-49.
Miami’s outside shooting was the story of the third quarter. The Heat made 9- of-12 three-pointers. Allen made shots from beyond the arc on four straight possessions, including a half-court shot to end the frame.
The Heat still held the lead going into the final half of the final quarter. Hawes hit a three with 2:36 to go to put the Sixers within one. James Anderson stole the ball from Chalmers on the next play, allowing Hawes to rush down the court and make layup. Carter-Williams added a free throw to give the Sixers a 110-108 lead with 27 seconds left in the game.
Shane Battier missed a three off the inbound with Evan Turner grabbing the rebound, forcing James to foul him. Turner made both shots with 19.1 seconds remaining.
Miami missed 10 straight field goals until Allen made a shot to cut the deficit in half with 9.6 seconds left, but Carter-Williams added two more points on free throws to account for the final score.