Sixers Rally Falls Short, Lose To Heat, 84-78
PHILADELPHIA (AP) — LeBron James scored 29 points, Dwyane Wade had 12 points and 10 rebounds and the Miami Heat held on to beat the Philadelphia 76ers 84-78 on Friday night.
The Heat almost had an epic collapse after leading by 29 points in the third quarter. Led by a hard-charging Lou Williams and Evan Turner, the Sixers sliced Miami’s lead to four points.
James, though, refused to let the lead completely slip away. He hit a pull-up jumper and sank a pair of free throws in the final 90 seconds to help the Heat end a four-game road losing streak. The Heat had lost two straight games overall.
Sixers part owner Will Smith brought his power family — wife Jada Pinkett Smith and son Jaden Smith — to the Wells Fargo Center, and sat courtside for the second time this season. He stood and applauded when the Sixers went on their burst, and waved and smiled at fans.
Turner had 13 points, Williams 12, and Andre Iguodala had 11 points and 10 rebounds.
Smith, filming a movie in the area, showed up at halftime and worked his movie star mojo on the Sixers.
Down 61-32 early in the third, the Sixers whittled the lead to 13 by the end of the quarter, then got hot in the fourth. Jodie Meeks hit a 3-pointer, followed with a dunk, then Turner made a 3 to cut it to 73-68.
Turner has turned into Philadelphia’s best player since his recent promotion to the starting lineup. He had six points through three quarters, but scored seven in the first 9 minutes of the fourth. His jumper made it a five-point game, and then he fought for an offensive rebound and wiggled his way through a pair of defenders to make it 77-72.
Smith tossed T-shirts to the crowd as nearly 20,000 fans were going wild as a dose of March Madness hit the NBA.
It was just too late.
Williams tried, hitting a 20-footer to make it 80-76 with 90 seconds left.
James coolly answered with his own pull-up jumper. Williams drove the baseline for a layup that made it 82-78. James made two free throws and the Heat could breathe a huge sigh of relief.
They almost lost to a Sixers team that missed their last 13 shots of the first half and scored a season low in points for a half (30).
Some of the players were star-struck with Smith in the front row. Chris Bosh, who scored 10 points, took repeated looks at the “Miami” singer each time he was around Smith. Smith cracked up the crowd when he mouthed the words to “Gettin’ Jiggy With It” as it played during a timeout. His hat askew, he stood and applauded when the Sixers cut it to 69-55 late in the third.
The Fresh Prince gave the Sixers fans a reason to go wild.
The team sure didn’t in the first half.
With a trip to Chicago up ahead on Saturday, the Sixers might want to bring him along.
The Heat appeared on their way toward a romp and raced to a 27-point lead in the first half. James hit a sweet fadeaway for his first basket, then tossed in a 3-pointer on the run for his second one. By the time he hit a step-back jumper late in the first, the Heat led 23-7.
James made 12 of 20 shots and had seven rebounds and eight assists.
Playing the Sixers, a team they knocked out of the first round in last season’s playoffs, was just what the Heat needed to bust their road slump. The Heat dropped games at Utah and to the Los Angeles Lakers earlier this month, then lost this week at Orlando and Chicago. The beat the Sixers for the 10th straight time in the regular season.
Notes: Sixers C Spencer Hawes (Achilles) sat out but will play against the Bulls on Saturday. … The Heat are 3-0 vs. the Sixers this season. … Miami improved to 16-31 against the Sixers in Philadelphia.
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