The Philadelphia 76ers faced one of the biggest steamrollers in recent NBA history on March 13. Not only did the Sixers face a Miami Heat team that never loses to them and hasn’t lost in over a month, they faced a Heat club that has rarely been severely tested in its long winning streak. However, the Sixers pushed the Heat as much as it has ever been pushed, despite failing when it counted.
Despite finally losing by 98-94, Philadelphia gave Miami a far bigger scare than it had expected. The Heat had blown out the Sixers on Feb. 23 and pulled away from them in the fourth quarter on March 8, but this was the first time Philadelphia pushed them in the final moments.
In fact, this was one of the rare moments where the Heat were pushed to the limit at all in the last month. Their biggest scares in the last 20 games came in their last-second win over the Orlando Magic on March 6, their double overtime win over the Sacramento Kings on Feb. 26 and a four-point win over the Cleveland Cavaliers on Feb. 24. Other than that, Miami has cruised to blowout wins or opened up a safe lead by crunch time.
The Sixers did what the Oklahoma City Thunder, New York Knicks, Indiana Pacers, Atlanta Hawks, Chicago Bulls, Los Angeles Clippers and Lakers couldn't by putting a serious scare into the Heat. Given Philadelphia’s downward spiral and its lack of any success against Miami over the years, this was a significant achievement.
Asking for a win to go along with it turned out to be too much, although it was right there for the taking. The Sixers could have crumbled after falling behind by 12 points at halftime, yet they showed resiliency for once. Jrue Holiday even dunked over LeBron James to tie things up in the final minutes, but it turned out to be the final wakeup call Miami needed.
The Heat should have been rusty when it came to these down-to-the-wire finishes. Nevertheless, the Sixers were not the team to make them pay for it. They did more than most other teams have done to the Heat during this streak, but the end result was the same as it has been for everyone else.