All things must pass. The Miami Heat’s unthinkable, incredible, historic 13 game win streak — the longest in the NBA this season — has finally come to an end Saturday night with a 117-109 loss to the Philadelphia 76ers.
On the second night of a back-to-back set, and for a team that could have really used Dion Waiters they were close but it just wasn’t enough down the stretch given the circumstances. Goran Dragic led the team with 30 points but also suffered seven turnovers as part of Miami’s 19 turnovers for the game. Hassan Whiteside had 19 rebounds but didn’t take advantage of the absence of Joel Embiid and Jahlil Okafor and only tallied 12 points.
Philadelphia led all but twice in the game but the Heat had one last chance when they got within four points in crunch time. However the 76ers were simply the better team tonight as they immediately responded with a decisive run to ice the game. Nerlens Noel, Robert Covington and Dario Saric each scored 19 points to lead a balanced attack that ran Miami ragged throughout.
Even still, the Heat fought back with 33 points in the final quarter but it wasn’t enough as they yielded 33 points on the other end and 117 points for the night. The defense simply wasn’t good enough to overcome the Heat’s uncharacteristic lack of ball movement, poor 3--point shooting (7-23, 30.4%), and perhaps most fatally too many turnovers. There were a few bright spots including reserves James Johnson with a season-high 26 points and Tyler Johnson with 17 points and seven assists.
After playing three road games in four nights, Miami returns home to face the Orlando Magic on Monday night. But in the meantime there’s time to reflect on the win streak that propelled the team from the bottom of the standings to legit playoff team. How this alters Pat Riley and the Heat front office’s long term plans remains to be seen but it will be fascinating to watch.