MIAMI – The two biggest names in South Florida sports shot back at 76ers forward Ersan Ilyasova for his comments about the Miami Heat’s fan base.
The Sixers sent the Heat home from the playoffs in five games and Ilyasova was not impressed with the two games played at AmericanAirlines Arena.
Ilyasova was asked about playoff atmosphere in advance of the Sixers’ Eastern Conference semifinal series with Boston and took a shot at the Heat home crowd.
“When we was in Miami, the gym was half empty,” Ilyasova said. “Those kind of things we don’t expect. But when you go to Boston, you will feel it. During the regular season when you play that team the arena is full. They are committed fans.”
Dwyane Wade, who has played 13.5 of his 15 seasons in Miami and won three titles with the Heat, was not impressed with Ilyasova.
Wade had this message on social media for ‘Heat Nation.’
“Let me apologize for his man that most of you don’t even know. He doesn’t know any better.”
A history lesson: Ilyasova, 30, is from Turkey. He has been in the NBA 10 seasons. He has played for six teams. He joined the Sixers this season after being waived by Atlanta and is averaging 10.0 points in six playoff games. His best postseason game was the opener against the Heat in which he had 17 points.
Heat president Pat Riley also felt the need to defend the Heat fanbase during his postseason news conference.
“I don’t care what Ilyasova says, we have the greatest fans in the world,” Riley said. “They just like to sip a little more wine before they come to the game. We had a raucous group of fans at Game 3 and 4.”
The Heat have sold out 378 consecutive games including the playoffs, the eighth longest home sellout streak in NBA history.