The Philadelphia 76ers were million-to-one shots to knock off the Miami Heat on March 13. In fact, the Sixers only stood to have a chance if the Heat were too exhausted to blow them out. But playing their third game in four nights didn’t seem to affect the Heat in the first half -- or in the final minutes either.
The Sixers stunned everyone by storming to the lead in the second half, yet the Heat restored order when it counted en route to a 98-94 escape. Despite blowing a 12-point halftime lead and being down late in the game, Miami made all of the big plays to get its 20’th win in a row.
Philadelphia nearly made history on the strength of a rare second half surge. Unlike their last game against the Heat on March 8, the Sixers got stronger after halftime and were the ones to rally from an early deficit. But while the Sixers had nothing left after three quarters on that night, they waited until the final minutes to run out of steam this time.
Once Philadelphia briefly took the lead, Ray Allen and Chris Bosh made big baskets to put Miami back on top. Jrue Holiday tied it up at 91 by dunking over none other than LeBron James, yet it was the Sixers’ last highlight.
After the Heat went back up by one point, Holiday himself crippled the Sixers with a turnover. James missed two shots afterwards, yet Dwayne Wade tipped in the second miss and gave Miami the cushion it needed. There was nothing the Sixers could do after that but put the Heat on the free throw line, where James and Wade scored the last four points to finally end things.
The Heat not only won for the 20’th time in a row, they beat the Sixers for the 13’th straight time in the regular season. However, those two streaks had rarely been challenged like they were in this contest. Given how Miami cruised through its last few victories and had beaten Philadelphia twice in the last few weeks alone, this wasn’t supposed to happen.
Nevertheless, the Sixers’ brief flirtation with success over the Heat was just that -- brief. Even when Philadelphia overachieves, defies the odds and catches Miami on an off night, it’s very best still isn’t good enough.