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City of Brotherly Love Gift-Wraps An Easy Victory: Heat 105 - Sixers 78

The Miami Heat had another drama-free night as they easily beat up a lifeless Sixers team for their third straight win and a return to a .500 record. The Sixers were cold throughout the game although they were playing the Heat pretty even until the beginning of the second quarter when they had no answer for a series of Heat runs that put the game out of reach. The Sixers missed baskets from everywhere on the court (including breakaway dunks and layups) with 37.9% shooting overall and 1-12 from three-point land. Whether that was a result of the Heat’s defense or because the Sixers were flat coming off the All-Star break is open to debate but the Heat definitely came out with more life on both ends of the field. The Heat’s second unit (along with Jermaine O’Neal) again played well while Wade rested and were able to build on their lead with a 16-2 run during the second quarter. But what turned the game into a rout was some atrocious Sixers defense in the paint during the beginning of the second half. The Heat, led by Dwyane Wade and a spry O’Neal, had one uncontested basket by the rim after another and at one point the Sixers didn’t even bother to cover Wade as he took all the time in the world to spot up for an open 3 to make it 69-41 with 4:15 remaining in the third. This was part of 17 points in a row that sealed the deal early and gave most of the starters the rest of the night off in the 4th quarter. Suffice to say when only one of your starting 5 manage to reach double figures in scoring with 11 points you’re in for a long night. The Heat overall played well but the quality of their opponents during this small winning streak have left a lot to be desired from a competitive standpoint. The average winning margin in the last 3 games is 26 points and the opponent’s average shooting percentage is 35% and you wonder if another blowout might be in store tonight against the lowly New Jersey Nets tonight. The fact that the Heat have so many blowout victories so far this season while only managing a 27-27 record should make any fan (or coach Spoelstra) lament over what could have been a far better record so far this season if they only displayed some consistency. After watching this game and seeing how easy the Heat can make the game look, it’s mind-boggling how a team featuring Wade could be second to last in the league in fast break points. If the Heat want to climb back up in the playoff standings they need to take advantage and consistently beat the many sub-.500 teams they will face in the final part of the schedule.