76ers complete dominant series win over Heat as 'The Process' stays ahead of schedule

For years, Philadelphia 76ers fans were left in the lurch to watch and even pay for miserable, insulting basketball, holding on to the promise of “The Process” paying future dividends for their patience and loyalty.

It appears to have been worthwhile.

“The Process” has officially reached the early stages of fruition and has done so ahead of schedule punctuated by Tuesday’s 104-91 Game 5 win over the Miami Heat to conclude a dominant first-round playoff debut by Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons.

It’s a series that very well could have been a sweep had Embiid been able to play in Miami’s Game 2 victory. No matter. Once the best player in the series stepped on the court, there was little hope in Miami of a further Dwyane Wade renaissance.

Wade was fantastic in Game 2, showing flashes of his brilliant prime that collected three Larry O’Brien trophies and a certain first-round ticket to the Hall of Fame. But that was a nice story for one night. It’s officially the Sixers’ time to shine and, with good health, it appears that it will be for some time.

16 PHOTOS
The best photos from the first round of the NBA playoffs
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The best photos from the first round of the NBA playoffs
CLEVELAND, OH - APRIL 15: JR Smith #5 of the Cleveland Cavaliers and Cory Joseph #6 of the Indiana Pacers drive for a ball during the first half in Game One of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals during the 2018 NBA Playoffs at Quicken Loans Arena on April 15, 2018 in Cleveland, Ohio. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
TORONTO, ON - APRIL 14: C.J. Miles #0 of the Toronto Raptors celebrates after making a three-pointer as rap artist Drake celebrates on the sideline against the Washington Wizards in the first quarter during Game One of the first round of the 2018 NBA Playoffs at Air Canada Centre on April 14, 2018 in Toronto, Canada. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)
HOUSTON, TX - APRIL 15: Jeff Teague #0 of the Minnesota Timberwolves goes up for a shot defended by Clint Capela #15 of the Houston Rockets and Chris Paul #3 in the second half during Game One of the first round of the 2018 NBA Playoffs at Toyota Center on April 15, 2018 in Houston, Texas. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images)
BOSTON, MA - APRIL 15: Terry Rozier #12 of the Boston Celtics celebrates with Jayson Tatum #0 after hitting a three point shot during the fourth quarter of Game One of Round One of the 2018 NBA Playoffs against the Milwaukee Bucks during at TD Garden on April 15, 2018 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
Apr 14, 2018; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Washngton Wizards guard Bradley Beal (3) dunks for a basket against Toronto Raptors in game one of the first round of the 2018 NBA Playoffs at Air Canada Centre. Mandatory Credit: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
BOSTON, MA - APRIL 17: Milwaukee Bucks Tony Snell, left, gets rid of the ball in front of the Boston Celtics Greg Monroe, right, in first half action in Game Two of the Eastern Conference First Round during the 2018 NBA Playoffs at the TD Garden in Boston on April 17, 2018. (Photo by Jim Davis/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
Apr 19, 2018; San Antonio, TX, USA; San Antonio Spurs small forward Davis Bertans (left) and Golden State Warriors power forward David West (3) battle for a rebound in game three of the first round of the 2018 NBA Playoffs at AT&T Center. Mandatory Credit: Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Apr 19, 2018; Miami, FL, USA; Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid (21) warms up prior to game three of the first round of the 2018 NBA Playoffs against the Miami Heatat American Airlines Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Apr 19, 2018; New Orleans, LA, USA; New Orleans Pelicans forward Anthony Davis (23) dunks over Portland Trail Blazers forward Al-Farouq Aminu (8) during the second quarter in game three of the first round of the 2018 NBA Playoffs at the Smoothie King Center. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Apr 19, 2018; San Antonio, TX, USA; San Antonio Spurs shooting guard Manu Ginobili (20) dives for the loose ball Golden State Warriors small forward Kevon Looney (left) in game three of the first round of the 2018 NBA Playoffs at AT&T Center. Mandatory Credit: Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
SAN ANTONIO,TX - APRIL 22 : Manu Ginobili #20 of the San Antonio Spurs drives on Quinn Cook #4 of the Golden State Warriors during the first half of Game Four of Round One of the 2018 NBA Playoffs at AT&T Center on April 22 , 2018 in San Antonio, Texas. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that , by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Ronald Cortes/Getty Images)
Apr 19, 2018; Miami, FL, USA; Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid (21) warms up prior to game three of the first round of the 2018 NBA Playoffs against the Miami Heatat American Airlines Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
INDIANAPOLIS, IN - APRIL 20: Myles Turner #33 and Bojan Bogdanovic #44 of the Indiana Pacers celebrate at the end of game three of the NBA Playoffs against the Cleveland Cavaliers at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on April 20, 2018 in Indianapolis, Indiana. The Pacers won 92-90. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using the photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
SALT LAKE CITY, UT - APRIL 21: Russell Westbrook #0 of the Oklahoma City Thunder and Donovan Mitchell #45 of the Utah Jazz go for the ball in the second half during Game Three of Round One of the 2018 NBA Playoffs at Vivint Smart Home Arena on April 21, 2018 in Salt Lake City, Utah. The Jazz beat the Thunder 115-102. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Gene Sweeney Jr./Getty Images)
BOSTON, MA - APRIL 24: Marcus Smart #36 of the Boston Celtics competes for a loose ball against Giannis Antetokounmpo #34 of the Milwaukee Bucks and Thon Maker #7 during the fourth quarter in Game Five in Round One of the 2018 NBA Playoffs at TD Garden on April 24, 2018 in Boston, Massachusetts. The Celtics defeat the Bucks 92-87. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
CLEVELAND, OH - APRIL 25: LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers is showered with water while being interviewed after a 98-95 win over the Indiana Pacers in Game Five of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals during the 2018 NBA Playoffs at Quicken Loans Arena on April 25, 2018 in Cleveland, Ohio. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
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Philadelphia had hands-down the two best players on the court during this series along with a cast of shooters and ball handlers that the Heat simply could not match up with.

Simmons became the first rookie since Magic Johnson in 1980 to record a triple-double in a playoff game during Saturday’s Game 4 after coming up one rebound short of the feat in Game 1. He averaged 19.3 points, 10.8 points and eight rebounds through the first four games of a series where he sometimes seemed to get to the basket at will.

Can’t shoot? No big deal, he just drove and dunked en route to a 51.8 percent field goal percentage. Simmons capped the series with 14 points, 10 rebounds and six assists on Tuesday.

Embiid returned from his orbital fracture for a triumphant Game 3 playoff debut on the heels of his Instagram tantrum after missing the first two games. He immediately commenced trolling the Miami crowd and taunting his opponents. He wasn’t perfect in his first two games playing with a mask, but made a monster impact on the court while averaging 18.5 points, 9.5 rebounds and four blocks. He logged 19 points, 12 rebounds and a block in Tuesday’s win.

His defense was commanding, almost immediately rendering Miami center Hassan Whiteside — once the Heat’s best hope for the future — a liability on the court. After Embiid entered the series, Whiteside found much of his game time parked on the bench.

29 PHOTOS
Joel Embiid through his career
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Joel Embiid through his career
Kansas' Joel Embiid reacts to the crowd after his dunk forced a Towson timeout in the second half at Allen Fieldhouse in Lawrence, Ks., Friday, Nov. 22, 2013. Kansas defeated Towson, 88-58. (Rich Sugg/Kansas City Star/MCT via Getty Images)
AMES, IA - JANUARY 13: Center Joel Embiid #21 of the Kansas Jayhawks adjusts his glasses during the second half against the Iowa State Cyclones on January 13, 2014 at Hilton Coliseum, in Ames, Iowa. (Photo by Matthew Holst/Getty Images)
SANTA MONICA, CA - MAY 8: NBA Draft prospect Joel Embiid behind the scenes on May 8, 2014 at Third Street Promenade in Santa Monica, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2014 NBAE (Photo by Juan Ocampo/NBAE via Getty Images)
TARRYTOWN, NY - AUGUST 3: Joel Embiid #11 of the Philadelphia 76ers poses for a portrait during the 2014 NBA rookie photo shoot on August 3, 2014 at the Madison Square Garden Training Facility in Tarrytown, New York. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2014 NBAE (Photo by Brian Babineau /NBAE via Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, PA - OCTOBER 06: Joel Embiid #21 of the Philadelphia 76ers plays against the Washington Wizards at Wells Fargo Center on October 6, 2016 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Wizards defeated the 76ers 125-119 in double overtime. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, PA - OCTOBER 15: Joel Embiid #21 of the Philadelphia 76ers looks on prior to the game against the Detroit Pistons at Wells Fargo Center on October 15, 2016 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, PA - OCTOBER 26: Joel Embiid #21 of the Philadelphia 76ers reacts against the Oklahoma City Thunder at Wells Fargo Center on October 26, 2016 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. The Thunder defeated the 76ers 103-97. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, PA - NOVEMBER 1: Joel Embiid #21 of the Philadelphia 76ers looks on against the Orlando Magic at Wells Fargo Center on November 1, 2016 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Magic defeated the 76ers 103-101. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA,PA - NOVEMBER 7: Joel Embiid #21 of the Philadelphia 76ers goes up for the short shot against the Utah Jazz during a game at the Wells Fargo Center on November 7, 2016 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2016 NBAE (Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, PA - NOVEMBER 11: Joel Embiid #21 of the Philadelphia 76ers is fouled by C.J. Miles #0 of the Indiana Pacers with Paul George #13 of the Indiana Pacers looking on from behind and Sergio Rodriguez #14 of the Philadelphia 76ers reacting at the Wells Fargo Center on November 11, 2016 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The following free throws cemented the game and Philadelphia won 109-105 in overtime. User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images Agreement. (Photo by Corey Perrine/Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA,PA - NOVEMBER 23: A close up shot of Joel Embiid #21 of the Philadelphia 76ers during the game against the Memphis Grizzlies at Wells Fargo Center on November 23, 2016 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2016 NBAE (Photo by David Dow/NBAE via Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, PA - DECEMBER 3: Joel Embiid #21 of the Philadelphia 76ers looks on prior to the game against the Boston Celtics at Wells Fargo Center on December 3, 2016 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, PA - DECEMBER 16: Joel Embiid #21 of the Philadelphia 76ers attempts a lay up against Timofey Mozgov #20 of the Los Angeles Lakers in the first quarter at Wells Fargo Center on December 16, 2016 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Lakers defeated the 76ers 100-89. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, PA - JANUARY 3: Karl-Anthony Towns #32 of the Minnesota Timberwolves boxes out Joel Embiid #21 of the Philadelphia 76ers after a foul shot in the first quarter at the Wells Fargo Center on January 3, 2017 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, PA - JANUARY 3: Joel Embiid #21 of the Philadelphia 76ers reacts against the Minnesota Timberwolves at the Wells Fargo Center on January 3, 2017 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
MILWAUKEE, WI - JANUARY 16: Joel Embiid #21 of the Philadelphia 76ers shoots a free throw during a game against the Milwaukee Bucks at BMO Harris Bradley Center on January 16, 2017 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, PA - JANUARY 20: Joel Embiid #21 of the Philadelphia 76ers congratulates Robert Covington #33 of the Philadelphia 76ers for hitting the game-winning basket against the Portland Trail Blazers during the fourth quarter at the Wells Fargo Center on January 20, 2017 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Philadelphia 76ers won 93-92. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Corey Perrine/Getty Images)
NEW ORLEANS, LA - FEBRUARY 16: Joel Embiid of the Philadelphia 76ers poses for a photo during the 2017 All-Star Media Circuit at the Ritz Carlton in New Orleans, LA. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2017 NBAE (Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images)
CAMDEN, NJ - SEPTEMBER 25: Joel Embiid #21 of the Philadelphia 76ers jokes around during the Philadelphia 76ers Media Day on September 25, 2017 at the Philadelphia 76ers Training Complex in Camden, New Jersey.NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images)
KANSAS CITY, MO - OCTOBER 13: Joel Embiid #21 of the Philadelphia 76ers drives toward the basket as Kelly Olynyk #9 of the Miami Heat of the Miami Heat defends during the game at Sprint Center on October 13, 2017 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, PA - NOVEMBER 3: Joel Embiid #21 of the Philadelphia 76ers warms up prior to the game against the Indiana Pacers at the Wells Fargo Center on November 3, 2017 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
OAKLAND, CA - NOVEMBER 11: Joel Embiid #21 of the Philadelphia 76ers looks on during the game against Draymond Green #23 of the Golden State Warriors on November 11, 2017 at ORACLE Arena in Oakland, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2017 NBAE (Photo by Noah Graham/NBAE via Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 15: Comedian Kevin Hart walks into Joel Embiid's #21 of the Philadelphia 76ers post game television interview to congratulate him for scoring career high 46-point against Los Angeles Lakers at Staples Center November 15, 2017, in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevork S. Djansezian)
PHILADELPHIA, PA - NOVEMBER 18: Joel Embiid #21 of the Philadelphia 76ers runs up the court against the Golden State Warriors at the Wells Fargo Center on November 18, 2017 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, PA - NOVEMBER 25: Joel Embiid #21 of the Philadelphia 76ers reacts against the Orlando Magic at the Wells Fargo Center on November 25, 2017 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, PA - NOVEMBER 27: Joel Embiid #21 of the Philadelphia 76ers dunks the ball against Channing Frye #8 of the Cleveland Cavaliers in the second quarter at the Wells Fargo Center on November 27, 2017 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Cavaliers defeated the 76ers 113-91. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, PA - NOVEMBER 29: A fan takes a video of Joel Embiid #21 of the Philadelphia 76ers warming up prior to the game against the Washington Wizards at the Wells Fargo Center on November 29, 2017 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 05: Philadelphia Sixers Joel Embiid attends 2017 Sports Illustrated Sportsperson of the Year Awards at Barclays Center on December 5, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by John Lamparski/WireImage)
PHILADELPHIA, PA - DECEMBER 7: Joel Embiid #21 of the Philadelphia 76ers looks on against the Los Angeles Lakers at Wells Fargo Center on December 7, 2017 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
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The Sixers got 27 points from J.J. Redick on Tuesday, a 5-for-10 three-point performance that marked his turn amongst a cast of role players including Marco Belinelli and Dario Saric who made an impact on the series.

For the Heat, they move on to wonder about whether Wade will return for another season in Miami and how they’re supposed to compete in an Eastern Conference moving forward with this kind of young talent.

For the Sixers, it’s on to round two against the winner of the Bucks and Celtics. And if the Celtics hold on after taking a 3-2 series lead earlier Tuesday, it could be a preview of playoff matches to come for years down the road.

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