Preview: Heat seek double-digit winning streak in Philly

Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

The Miami Heat are red hot right now, can the Philadelphia Sixers do anything to stop the East powerhouse?

The Miami Heat are just toying with their victims nowadays.

During this current nine-game winning streak, the Heat seem to take pleasure in turning the energy level up in the second half and then proceeding to methodically take apart their opponent in the final quarter. Opposing teams have no answer for the Heat down the stretch, whether it's a trademark LeBron James or Dwyane Wade drive to the hoop, a corner three from Shane Battier or Ray Allen, or a silky smooth midrange jumper from Chris Bosh.

The defense has certainly picked up from the lackluster start to the season, all but two of the last ten teams the Heat have faced have lost in double-digits and the last six victories have all been decided by double-digits. The defending champs are now 5 1/2 games ahead of the second-place New York Knicks in the race to the top seed in the Eastern Conference. Since January 16, the Heat have gone 14-2. And how about the reigning MVP? The King is now shooting 67.8% from the field (99 made, 146 attempts) during this winning streak.

Here's even more bad news for the Philadelphia Sixers (22-30, fourth in the Atlantic Division), the Heat's next opponent (victim?). They have been swept by the Heat in each of the last three regular season series with five of those games in Philadelphia. That's eleven games in a row, as well as a 4-1 first round loss in the 2011 NBA Playoffs.

The Sixers have lost four of their last five games, with their only victory against the Charlotte Bobcats and have averaged just 85 points during that stretch. By comparison, opposing teams of the Heat have averaged 92.7 points during their winning streak.

Mike Miller (sinus, ear infection) is out for tonight's game.

For more on the Philadelphia Sixers, be sure to check out Liberty Ballers and Heat vs 76ers coverage.

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