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76ers are just what slumping Heat needed

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The Philadelphia 76ers seemed to be getting the Miami Heat at the right time on Jan. 17. The Sixers faced a Heat team on a three-game losing streak, with all the losses coming against sub .500 clubs. Given that the Heat tend to sleepwalk for a stretch or two -- since they can afford it -- the Sixers had a chance to keep them sleeping, yet Miami finally woke up in a 101-86 win.

The game was barely that close, as the Heat never trailed for a second. Unlike when Philadelphia upset Miami in its first game of the season, it couldn't take the two-time champions by surprise. That Sixers team which started 3-0 is long gone, as it proved when it trailed by as many as 25 points.

A 2-for-20 performance from beyond the arc for the Sixers didn't help, and neither did Chris Bosh's 25 points or LeBron James' 21. Michael Carter-Williams began his career with a spectacular performance against Miami three months ago, but only mustered seven points, one field goal and five turnovers in the rematch.

It says something about the Sixers that three other teams below .500 beat the Heat, yet they didn't stand a chance. Or perhaps it just says something about Miami's ability to turn the switch back on at any time. Still, the Heat are half a season away from really needing to turn themselves back on, in spite of how they are in a fight for the No. 1 seed against the Indiana Pacers.

The Sixers only need to worry about how high their lottery pick will be, in a season where they were expected to tank all along. As such, their opening night win over the Heat didn't really go according to plan. But with a 13-26 overall record after this loss, Philadelphia has certainly made up for it now.


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