Game #23: Miami Heat (16-6) vs. Philadelphia 76ers (16-6)

Coming off of their first loss since mid-January, the Miami Heat will try to begin another winning streak tonight when they head up to the always friendly city of Philadelphia for a game with the up-and-coming 76ers. Before dropping their last game, the Heat were looked at by many as the hottest team in the NBA, but coming off of their loss to Milwaukee and combined with some very good play out of other teams in the conference, Miami has got some work to do in order to climb back on top of the mountain.

Philly is one of those teams right on the cusp of greatness. They have gotten their season off to a superb start and are currently holding a huge lead atop the Atlantic Division, 4.5 games ahead of the Boston Celtics and a whopping 8 games up on the New York Knicks. Even with the great coaching from Doug Collins, I don't think many NBA fans or experts saw the Sixers coming out of the gate and playing so well so soon.

As it currently stands, Philadelphia and Miami are both tied with 16-6 records, 1.5 games behind the Chicago Bulls at the top of the Eastern Conference. Both teams are doing what they are supposed to while trying to catch the top seeded Bulls. The Sixers took down Chicago 98-82 on Wednesday and the Heat beat the Bulls 97-93 on Sunday.

Even with their successful play and impressive record, most of the players in Philly are feeling a little slighted. Of the Sixers 16 wins, only 4 of them have come against teams who are above .500, and that has some people cranking up the excuse machine as to why Philadelphia is off to such a good start. Even Sixers star Andre Iguodala has acknowledged the lack of respect, saying, "I don't think we've gotten the respect yet from the outside (but) we're starting to get there."

GAME NOTES

  • The Heat are 6-4 on the road. Philadelphia is 12-2 at home.
  • Miami has won eight consecutive regular-season games against the Sixers.
  • The Heat also eliminated them from the 1st round of the NBA Playoffs last year 4 games to 1.
  • This is the second of four games between the two teams, and the first one played up in Philly. Last time they locked horns was about 2 weeks ago, and the Heat came out with the 113-92 win.
  • This is the first time that Dwyane Wade will face the Sixers this season.
  • Miami has won 5 of their last 6 games while Philly comes in winners of 4 straight.
  • The Heat are listing Mike Miller (hand) as day-to-day.
  • For Philly, center Spencer Hawes (Achilles) is questionable.

Tipoff from the Wachovia Center is set for 7pm. The last time the Heat played there, they lost Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals during last years playoffs. The game will be broadcast locally on Sun Sports. Lets go Heat!

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