NBA Preview from The Sports Network|
Wednesday, April 16th
(All times Eastern)
Philadelphia 76ers (18-63) at Miami Heat (54-27), 8 p.m.
(SportsNetwork.com) - The two-time defending champion Miami Heat are locked
into the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference and will prep for the playoffs
with Wednesday's matchup versus the Philadelphia 76ers.
Miami isn't playing its best basketball of late and lost out on a chance for
conference supremacy to the Indiana Pacers following Monday's 114-93 loss
against the Washington Wizards. Miami, which began the day still in contention
for the top spot, opted to rest starters LeBron James and Chris Bosh.
Michael Beasley paced the Heat with 18 points off the bench, Toney Douglas
scored 14 and Ray Allen netted 13 in a reserve role. Dwyane Wade, who needed
some minutes before possibly a long postseason run, ended with nine points and
three assists. It was Wade's second game since returning from a nine-game
absence caused by an injured hamstring.
"Not too many takeaways we can take from tonight other than the fact that we
got Dwyane out there, got him some game time, some game conditioning but even
that wasn't a whole lot," said Miami coach Erik Spoelstra.
The Wizards made 59 percent of their shots and sank 14-of-29 3-pointers. They
were led by Trevor Ariza's 25 points and Nene netted 18. Washington had a
70-48 lead by halftime and shot 70.3 percent in the first half.
Either Washington or the Charlotte Bobcats will face Miami in the first round.
Miami has lost two in a row and five of seven games and owns a 32-8 record at
AmericanAirlines Arena this season. The Heat have won seven of their last nine
games in South Beach.
The re-building 76ers are headed to the NBA lottery and hope to close the
season with back-to-back wins.
Philadelphia hasn't prevailed in two straight games since a four-game winning
streak from Dec. 29-Jan. 4 and halted a four-game slide with Monday's 113-108
home victory over the Boston Celtics. Even though Kelly Olynyk (28), Jeff
Green (27) and Avery Bradley (23) all scored more than 20 points, the Sixers
used a more balanced attack.
Rookie of the Year candidate Michael Carter-Williams finished just shy of a
triple-double with 21 points, 14 rebounds, six assists and four steals to lead
the Sixers, who shot 54 percent and received 20 points from Tony Wroten off
the bench. Thaddeus Young and Henry Sims scored 15 and 13 points,
respectively, in the win.
"We executed down the stretch. We made some big plays and we got some big
stops," said Carter-Williams, who is averaging 18.4 points, 7.8 rebounds and
6.7 assists in the last nine games.
The 76ers are 2-6 since halting a 26-game losing streak versus Detroit on
March 29 and will put their 8-32 road mark to the test. They are winless in
the last three games away from Wells Fargo Center.
With another loss the Sixers can match the 1995-96 squad (18-64).
Philadelphia opened the Brett Brown era with three straight wins, including a
114-110 victory over Miami on Oct. 30. The Heat evened the score with a 101-86
triumph on Jan. 17 to improve to 17-2 in the past 19 games in this series.
Both games were played in the City of Brotherly Love.
The Sixers have lost 10 straight and 16 of the last 18 trips to South Beach.
04/16 10:31:06 ET