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Miami Heat fall to the Philadelphia 76ers, 103-97, despite a furious 4th-quarter rally

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The starters failed again to generate any scoring, and left the bench unit to almost pull out a win.

NBA: Miami Heat at Philadelphia 76ers Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Newly minted All-Star Goran Dragic faced off against All-Star starter Joel Embiid, as the Philadelphia 76ers defeated the Miami Heat, 103-97, in a wild game of swings.

With this loss the Heat, 29-23, dropped to 5th pace behind the Washington Wizards, just a half game ahead of the Milwaukee Bucks.

After a closely contested first quarter ending with the Heat down by one point, 24-23, Miami became unglued in the second quarter as the 76ers raced out to a 10 point, 51-41, halftime lead.

The third quarter began with Miami cutting the margin down to 7 points, 53-46, after a James Johnson 3-point basket, but then the 76ers scored an incredible 19-0 unanswered points against the lifeless Miami defenders to put the game seemingly out of reach, 72-46.

The third quarter mercifully ended for Miami with the home team 76ers holding a comfortable 26 point lead, 86-60.

The fourth quarter provided some much needed drama following Embiid’s basket that briefly expanded Philadelphia’s lead to 28 points, 88-60.

After T.J. McConnell’s made the score 90-62, Miami went on its longest unanswered streak of the season, 17 points, to bring the Heat’s deficit down to 11 points, 90-79, with 5:47 left in the game.

With the 76ers leading 101-92, the Heat managed to close the gap to within 4 points on a Wayne Ellington basket, 101-97, with 24 seconds still remaining on the clock.

Kelly Olynyk missed a 3-pointer with 8 seconds left, the 76ers got the rebound and a basket to put the game away with a final tally of 103-97.

The box score tells the story as James Johnson scored 5 points on a passive 1-4 shooting effort, Hassan Whiteside 4 points on a meager 2-6 struggle, and Tyler Johnson 9 points on 3 of 9 attempts.

Olynyk lead the Miami scoring with 19 points, followed by Ellington’s 16 points and Adebayo’s 15 points off the bench.

Adebayo and Winslow were the leading rebounders with 13 and 12, as Miami’s rotation players outrebounded the starters by a 31 to 18 margin.

The four-man lineup of Dragic, Josh Richardson, J. Johnson, Whiteside were outscored by 17 points while they were on the court.

This marks the sixth consecutive game the Heat were held under 100 points, which means teams have figured out how to stop the Heat on offense.

In those 6 games James Johnson made 1 of 17 3-point attempts, Tyler Johnson had a FG% of 35%, which is less than Derrick Jones Jr. 37.5% FG%.

Since the starters play sets at the speed of 50-year-old men, relying almost exclusively on either hand-offs on picks or iso-ball dribbles into the paint, teams can easily guard the confused players.

Justise Winslow did a commendable job at point guard in the fourth by doing more than hand-offs, but distributing the ball with a creative variety of passes and drives.

The duo of Winslow and Adebayo in their 28 minutes had 25 rebounds, 7 assists, 1 turnover, scored 22 points as their youth and quickness were readily apparent.

Sad state of affairs when the most impressive player for Miami is not their All-Star, but a 20-year-old rookie coming off the bench.

15 points. 13 rebounds. 6 assists. 0 turnovers.


Philadelphia outscored Miami in the paint 60-36, probably because Heat defenders were noticeably slower in keeping up with the faster and younger 76ers on their patterns.

Losing 4 of their last 6 games, after an earlier 7-game win streak doesn’t call for finding scapegoats, but realizing NBA teams have adjusted and found ways to stop Miami formula of standing in the post and handing off the ball to 3-point threats.

The 37-point fourth quarter, mostly commandeered by Winslow’s pushing the ball up without excessively dribbling the ball into impossible traps by other teams, shows what style works.

Youth was served in the last quarter, but alas too late to win the game.