The league's worse team once again hung tough with the surging Miami Heat (37-26), but it wasn't enough down the stretch in an unexpectedly tight game for Miami's 103-98 win.
The game was close to start with the Miami Heat and Philadelphia 76ers exchanging buckets. It was Joe Johnson who was hot for the Heat hitting a three and doing work in the paint. The Sixers battled back though hitting multiple threes and taking an early lead. Hassan Whiteside came into the game early, as Amar’e Stoudemire was rattled early on by a shot to the face. Whiteside did work early getting a block, that led to a quick three by Goran Dragic. Miami would go on a 9-2 run led by Dwyane Wade to take the lead.
Wade utilized the free throw line to find his rhythm early in the game, more than sixth free throws and extending the Heat lead. Wade’s defense was also stellar as he succeeded in stealing the ball multiple times. Philadelphia showed signs of life in the quarter keeping it incredibly close, and utilizing their speed to burn Miami on the fast break.
One notable moment of the first quarter was when Justise Winslow found a breaking Josh Richardson for a beautiful dunk. That could be something Heat fans see for a very long time.
Near the end of the quarter, Wade headed to the locker room, but later would return.
The Heat came into the second quarter on fire. The Heat were playing downhill basketball, as well as delivering on the defensive end. However despite their impressive efforts, the Sixers managed to creep back and tie it up. Gerald Green also found some run in the second scoring a triple. Miami struggled guarding the arc, and Philadelphia began to take off. The Heat would however, regain their bearings thanks to Joe Johnson’s hot hand and take the lead to end the first half.
Wade was energized to start the second half scoring on a beautiful jumper, and penetrating through the key on the subsequent play. He would continue to play well, but overall the Heat were stagnant. Philly however was full of energy, led by Ish Smith they would convert on many tough buckets by pure hustle alone. Though he is often crucified for his lack of defensive awareness, Amar’e was great on defense blocking multiple shots and creating a large presence.
Miami picked up steam to go on a 7-0 run, however Philly would continue to keep it close playing solid defense and stealing the ball to set up fast break attempts.
Philly would take the lead to start the fourth, and extend it by hitting some tough threes, but Miami would battle back through the three point shooting of their rookies. Both Winslow and Richardson hit threes to bring Miami back within striking distance. Miami would go on a 10-2 run to tie the game, and continue close out through a great effort both offensively and defensively by Hassan Whiteside. Wade also delivered on a phenomenal dunk, as a result of Whiteside’s elite blocking ability. Dragic was also phenomenal in this one with a great shooting touch, and finding surging players on offense with ease.
Miami would put an end to the Sixers as the game came to a close despite a hiccup by Wade (who fouled Covington on a three), thus finishing what was an incredibly close game and extending Miami’s winning streak to five.