Game #78: Philadelphia 76ers (26-51) vs. Miami Heat (43-34)

After a nice, relatively long rest, the Heat will get back at it tonight against the visiting Sixers in front of their home fans at the AAA.  Some of the main things we have been discussing lately are the Heat's remaining schedule and who they could end up playing against in the Playoffs. 

While its something that we have been playing a bit of attention to, the Heat players could care less.  Their main concern is developing consistency and playing at the highest level possible heading into the post season.  Over the past 5 weeks they have done exactly that, winning 14 of their last 17 games.   A big part of their success has come from their leader, Dwyane Wade.  Wade has come right out and said that he isn't worried about watching the standings to see who the Heat play.   Said Wade:

"I'm not into all that.  I just know that Boston-Atlanta flips back and forth.  If they're on TV, I get a chance to watch them, I'll watch them.  Besides that, I don't really watch and see. I don't know who they play.  I really don't care.  We just need to continue to get better up in here.  We'll see at the end of 82 who we play."

Moving on to tonight's opponent, Philadelphia has won just 4 of their last 20 games and have taken a serious step backwards after making the playoffs and giving eventual Eastern Conference Champion Orlando a 6-game run for their money.  Now it seems that they will finish with their worst record since losing 51 games in 1997-98.

GAME NOTES

  • Miami's 8-game win streak is the longest current streak in the NBA.
  • This is the 3rd game of the 4-game series between Miami and Philly, with the Heat winning the first two games by an average of 20 points, shooting 50.3%.  The 4th game is Monday night in Philadelphia. 
  • The Sixers have lost four of their last five games on the road.  Their loss last night at home to Detroit was their 4th straight overall.
  • Jermaine O'Neal remains listed as questionable, but considering that the Heat has gone 4-0 without him, I doubt anyone wants to rush J-O.  The important thing is that he is ready to roll come playoff time.
  • For Philly, forwards Thaddeus Young (thumb) and Rodney Carney (foot) are listed as questionable.
  • In his last 7 games, Udonis Haslem is averaging 12.5 points on 61.8% shooting while grabbing 12.5 rebounds. 

Tipoff from the AAA is set for 7:30pm.  In the standings watch, Miami was bumped back down to 6th place as the Bucks went on the road and won in Chicago.  The Hawks and Celtics both lost; Charlotte beat Atlanta to inch closer to clinching a playoff spot while the Knicks upset Boston thanks to a career-high 31 from Danilo Gallinari.

So as it stands, Atlanta has a 1-game lead over Boston for 3rd place with each team having 5 games left on their schedule.  Milwaukee and the Heat are tied for 5th, but the Bucks hold the tiebreaker since they won the season series against Miami.   Charlotte is 2 games back of Miami and hold a 3-game lead over 8th place Toronto.

Got all that...? 

Also, don't forget to vote for your Miami Heat Dancers tomorrow starting at 2pm in the quarterfinals against the Boston Celtics Dancers.  I will be posting a new dancer of the day tomorrow along with the voting link. 

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