By Spike Eskin
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – The Sixers have beaten the Heat only once in the last two years. The win came on a last second shot by Lou Williams in their playoff series last season, helping the Sixers barely avoid a first-round sweep. Tonight, they’ll try to get a win in Miami, and try to keep pace with the Celtics for the Atlantic division lead.
The Sixers (29-23) come into the game 4-6 in their last ten games, and playing uneven basketball at best. They followed up their disaster loss in DC to the Wizards with a close win at home against the Hawks the next night. An Atlantic division title means a likely #4 seed in the playoffs, and a winnable series against the Pacers, Hawks, or Celtics. If they’re unable to recapture first in the Atlantic, it’s an opening round series against the Heat, Bulls, or Magic. Given the relative success they’ve had against the Heat and the Bulls, the Sixers might even be better off finishing in 8th place than 7th, to avoid the Heat.
The Heat (37-14) seem to be suffering from a case of boredom, most recently losing to the Celtics 91-72 on Sunday, in a game where the Heat never looked quite “into it,” and Lebron James didn’t record an assist for just the second time in his career. Though the Heat will be judged more my their performance in the playoffs than the regular season, limping into the post-season might be a concern.
Though the Heat have looked bigger, stronger, faster, and predictably more talented than the Sixers, the two teams have similarities. Both struggle with half-court offense, and are dominant defensive teams that capitalize off of turnovers and transition offense. Both have “do-it-all” wing players (James, Iguodala), young point guards (Cole, Chalmers, Holiday, Turner).
The game can be heard on 98.1 WOGL at 7:30.