The Philadelphia 76ers faced long odds against the Miami Heat on Feb. 23. The Sixers could never beat the Heat in the last two years when they were a playoff team, so doing it in this rotten season seemed like a long shot. Their best hope was to catch the Heat napping, but the Sixers couldn’t even get that break.
The Sixers were barely competitive as the Heat treated the game like practice, en route to a 114-90 victory. It wasn’t a blowout right away, as Philadelphia was only down by three after one quarter and nine at halftime. But Miami never really let things get close, as it steadily opened up the lead throughout the game and cruised from there.
Even a team over .500 would have had a hard time standing up to the Heat on this night. Of course, a better team might not have let Miami shoot 58.4 percent from the floor as Philadelphia did. It might have also kept Dwayne Wade from scoring 33 points, or hold LeBron James to 16 points without letting him get a triple double as well.
However, that is the way of life for the Heat, as they had their way in their 10’th straight victory. On the other hand, the Sixers’ way of life has put them into a current four-game losing streak, a 22-31 record and dwindling playoff hopes.
Still, if the Sixers somehow squeezed into the No. 8 playoff shot, they would just have to face the Heat all over again. As Philadelphia fades further back for the last seed, Miami keeps pulling away in the race for the top seed.
There was a time this summer where the Sixers and Heat might have been logical choices to face off in the second round, or the conference finals. Yet Philadelphia has decidedly lived down to its preseason expectations, while Miami has done exactly what it was supposed to do. That was on prime display on both ends of the court last night at the Wells Fargo Center.