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Heat Get Big Win Over Sixers; Heat @ Magic GAMEDAY

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It seems like it's been a while since the Heat got a ‘big win'. Their recent struggles have been right in our faces, as Heat fans have been trying to sustain an excitement that will take us all the way to the playoffs. The Heat were almost even in rebounds (42-38) and free throws (25-23), so despite not pulling ahead in either category Miami made it close enough to where it wasn't a glaring problem.

Still, it was nice to see the Heat play a solid 4th quarter, an effort that has been lacking in recent weeks. Don't try and convince yourselves otherwise, this was as a big a game as you can get in late February, especially considering the Heat turn right around and face division leading Orlando in their house tomorrow afternoon.

WHO TO WATCH

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When we try to hand the Magic a rare home loss, we are going to have to shut down one of my favorite x-Heat players, Rafer Alston. Today should be his first start for the Magic as he'll try to fill the shoes of Jameer Nelson while the Magic make a run at a title. He came off the bench in his Magic debut on Friday and played 29 minutes. He led the Magic in assists with 8 but shot poorly from the field (1-for-9), but looked good defensively and comfortable running the offense.


Pts Reb Ast
2008 - Rafer Alston 11.3 2.9 5.4



THINGS TO CONSIDER

I see no reason why Jamario Moon shouldn't be starting after what he showed us on Saturday. His first 3 field goals were dunks...and NICE dunks. One from close to the free throw line, one on an ally oop; and then there was his defense. This is why I think he'll be our new starter. Defense comes first on the Heat, and if he can consistently play solid defense as he did yesterday, he is absolutely our best option at the 3.

When Andre Miller seemed unstoppable and continuously got to the rim off the dribble, Moon took on the defensive assignment and did a good job ‘tripping up' Miller.

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Jermaine O'Neal looked great. You knew before the game even started that he was going to go after rebounds, and his first quarter came as advertised. He started out going 2-for-2 for 5 points and 3 boards in the games first 5 min. When he came out of the game with 1:39 left in the 1st quarter, the Heat were leading 20-10. The Heat would then be outscored 17-2 in the time O'Neal was out of the game, but shortly after he returned with 8:47 left in the 2nd, the Heat went on an 8-2 run to shift the momentum. Jermaine finished with 17 and 10 for his 1st double double as a Heat.

GAME NOTES

This game was close despite the Heat shooting 51.4% and holding Philly to 37.1%. Both teams shot equally poor from 3, each going 4-for-18.

The Heat had no turnovers in the 1st quarter, but finished with 13.

This was the 800th victory in Heat franchise history.

Despite (only) having 25 points and 9 assists, D-Wade took over the game in the closing minutes. He assisted on 5 of the Heat's final 7 field goals, and scored on two he didn't. He had a hand in 18 of the Heat's last 23 points of the game.

Dorrell Wright was dressed! Even more odd...Daequan Cook didn't take a shot, but played only 16 minutes.

IN THE STANDINGS

4th Atlanta 32-23 --
5th Miami 29-25 -2.5
6th Detroit 27-26 -4.0
7th Philadelphia 27-27 -4.5
8th Milwaukee 27-31 -6.5
9th Chicago 25-40 -7.0


The Heat were the only team in our ‘standings watch' to play, so they picked up a half game on everyone except Philly, who they moved 2 games ahead of.