Since returning home, the Miami Heat has played some very good basketball, beating a pair of 1st place teams from the Western Conference in the Lakers and Spurs. Tonight will give the Heat an opportunity to beat a 1st place team from the Eastern Conference, as the surprising Philadelphia 76ers come into Miami with one of the best records in the league at 11-4.
Philadelphia finished last season very strong under then first year coach Doug Collins, and they gave the Heat a very tough 5-game series in the opening round of last years' playoffs. Now the Sixers are back, playing as good if not better then at the end of last season, and will be a very tough test for Miami tonight at the AAA. Philly has won 10 of their last 12 games, averaging 99.9 points per game in that span.
The Heat are hoping to continue their recent success over the 76ers, as Miami has won seven consecutive regular season games and took Philly out of the playoffs in 5 games last year. However, any NBA fan will tell you that this isn't the same Sixers team as in past years. They are young, they are quick, they play defense and they know how to score.
Only the Chicago Bulls are a better defensive team then Philadelphia; the Sixers give up just 87.4 points per game while the Heat give up 98.4, good enough to tie them with Washington for 24th in the league. It's a good thing that the Heat are the top scoring team in the league, averaging 106.6 points per game. Philly is no offensive slouch either, putting up 101.0 points, good for 3rd in the league.
- Miami is 5-1 at home. The Sixers are 4-3 on the road.
- Philly is in 1st place in the Atlantic Division, ahead of 2nd place New York by a full 5 games.
- The Heat are in 2nd place in the Southeast Division, ½ game behind the Orlando Magic.
- Chris Bosh is 12 points away from having scored 12,000 in his career.
- Miami has swept the season series against Philly two years in a row.
- The Heat has held a double-digit lead in all 6 of their home games this season.
- Mario Chalmers has made at least two 3-pointers in each of his last 5 games.
- Dwyane Wade (ankle) is probably not going to play, but has not been officially ruled out yet.
- For the Sixers, center Spencer Hawes (Achilles) is questionable.
Tipoff from the AAA is set for 7:30. The game will be broadcast locally on Sun Sports. This is the first game in another back-to-back set for Miami. They host Milwaukee tomorrow night, that game with an earlier 6pm start time.