Tonight at 6:30 PM EST, the Miami Heat will host the Philadelphia 76ers at the AmericanAirlines Arena in Miami, Florida. This game is the second of four this season between the Sixers and the Heat. Philadelphia won the first in their house, 101-94 on November 21st (more on that below). They’ll head back to Philly for a rematch a week from today, then close the series back in Miami on March 1st.
Miami is in the midst of a nine-game winning streak (seven of them have been at home). Since January 17th, they’ve defeated the Houston Rockets 109-103, the Dallas Mavericks, 99-95, the Milwaukee Bucks, 109-97, the Golden State Warriors, 105-102, the Brooklyn Nets, 109-106, the Chicago Bulls, 100-88, the Detroit Pistons 116-103, the Nets again, 104-96, and the Atlanta Hawks, 116-93 (more on that one below). After tonight’s tilt, the Heat will head back out onto the road to challenge the Minnesota Timberwolves on Monday, the Bucks on Wednesday, and the Nets on Friday before closing it with that aforementioned rematch against Philadelphia a week from today.
Philadelphia has lost four of their last five, and will be playing tonight in the third game of a four-game road trip. They started it out with losses to the Mavs, 113-95 on Wednesday and to the San Antonio Spurs, 102-86 on Thursday (more on that below). They’ll play the Pistons in Detroit on Monday before going home again.
On November 21st, the Sixers defeated the Heat 101-94 despite a career high 32-point, 13-rebound, two-block game from Hassan Whiteside. Joel Embiid led Philly with 22 points, five boards and six blocks, while Gerald Henderson scored 19 and Jahlil Okafor pitched in 15 off the bench. Dion Waiters scored 19 with five dimes for Miami, and Goran Dragic scored 10 with seven helpers, four rebounds and three steals.
To have only one player, he was really dominating. We need more. We didn’t shoot the ball well. We got the good looks, but we couldn’t connect. - Dragic
Miami thumped the Atlanta Hawks by 23 points in their last time out, with a 116-93 win at the AAA. Goran Dragic scored 27 with five rebounds and five assists, Dion Waiters had 20 points with seven boards, three helpers, two steals and two blocks, Hassan Whiteside scored 18 with as many rebounds and two blocks, and James Johnson came off the bench for 16 points, three assissts, three blocks, two rebounds and a steal. Kent Bazemore led the Hawks with just 14 points.
It hasn’t been about the result for us. We felt like our team was getting better. And throughout all of it, you do have to maintain perspective. - Heat coach Erik Spoelstra
Philly lost their last game, by 16 points to the Spurs, 102-86. Ersan Ilyasova scored 25 with 10 rebounds, four steals and two assists to lead the Sixers, and Dario Saric scored 14 with nine boards to back him up. The two were the only 76ers to score in double figures, against seven on the Spurs to eclipse the mark. Kawhi Leonard scored 19 with eight rebounds, five assists, two steals and two blocks, Dewayne Dedmon scored 13 with 10 boards in just 22 minutes, and Davis Bertans, Danny Green, Patty Mills and David Lee each scored 12. (Jonathon Simmons scored 11 for those keeping track).
I think Dewayne Dedmon was the star of the show tonight. Everything he did was great. - Spurs coach Gregg Popovich
GameTime: 6:30 PM ET, AmericanAirlines Arena, Miami, Florida
Line: NumberFire has Miami with a 76.5% chance of winning, by a probable final score of 105-96.
All-Time Heat-to-Head (courtesy bkref.com): Miami is 56-54 overall against the Sixers, better than against 14 opponents and worse than against 14 other opponents. It’s the “middlest” team against Miami in the NBA.
Probable Starters (courtesy NumberFire)
PG - T.J. McConnell
SG - Nik Stauskas
SF - Dario Saric
PF - Ersan Ilyasova
C - Jahlil Okafor
PG - Goran Dragic
SG - Rodney McGruder
SF - Dion Waiters
PF - Ersan Ilyasova
C - Hassan Whiteside
Milestones (top 50) (courtesy bkref.com)
Hassan Whiteside will tie Michael Doleac in 43rd by playing in his 167th Heat game tonight. With 17 field goals, he’ll tie Voshon Lenard in 21st with 989. He needs 31 more rebounds to become the 11th Heat player with 2,000 or more boards. He can tie Joel Anthony in 43rd with three steals, to make 108. 16 more blocks will give him 500 for his Heat career, and he’ll be the fourth player to eclipse that mark.
Goran Dragic needs 42 minutes to tie Shane Battier in 33rd, with 4,753. He’ll tie Bimbo Coles and Rasual Butler in 25th with one three-pointer, his 157th. Nine free throws will tie him with Harold Minor in 25th, with 381. His next steal, his 143rd with the Heat, will move him into sole possession of 31st by breaking a tie with Billy Thompson.
Wayne Ellington needs one three-pointer to tie LaPhonso Ellis in 48th with 65.
Tyler Johnson needs seven three-pointers to tie Jon Sundvold in 36th with 108. He needs nine free throws to tie Dorell Wright in 47th all time with 200. He’ll tie Micheal Beasley in 50th with four more assists, to make 257 in his career. His next steal will give him 110, tied with Billy Owens for 41st. His next block will tie him with Alan Ogg in 45th, with 55.
Udonis Haslem can tie Rory Sparrow in 16th with six assists for 727.
- quotes courtesy of nba.com and the Miami Herald.