For a moment there, full red alert panic mode was about to set in for the Miami Heat.
Luckily for the Heat, they were playing the worst team in the NBA. Any other team and this was probably another in the loss column.
Dwyane Wade broke out of his scoring slump with 23 points, eight assists, and six rebounds to lead the Heat to a 99-90 win at the American Airlines Arena that broke a three-game losing streak. LeBron James contributed his usual balanced performance with 20 points, eight rebounds, and six assists while Chris Bosh threw in 18 points and nine rebounds for good measure. Wade and James took a combined 23 free throw attempts.
Jodie Meeks had one of his best performances of his career with 21 points, 18 coming in the first half. Andre Iguodala did all he could to support the 76ers with 20 points, nine rebounds, and five assists of his own. Elton Brand contributed a solid 12 points, while Thaddeus Young came off the bench to drop 11.
The score doesn’t quite reflect how the game went as the 76ers kept this game within six points for most of the way. Despite the Heat building up a 25-17 lead and leading by as much as nine in the first half, the Heat had their struggles of putting the game away as they allowed Meeks to score at will. He made all four of his three-pointers in the second quarter and cut the Heat lead down to four as Philly dropped 30 points in the second frame.
It only got more unstable from there as the Heat struggled in the third quarter by allowing an assorted number of 76ers to score while the offense remained stagnant. The Heat were able to hold Meeks to only three points in the second half, but Iguodala and Young began to step up in place as they took a 24-22 advantage in the third quarter.
Then the fourth quarter came and the Heat had enough. They started the quarter on a 10-2 run and built the lead to as much as 13 late in the fourth. It was none other than Dwyane Wade supporting the team as he hit two and-one’s, played much more consistent defense, and found open teammates. Miami outscored Philadelphia 26-19 in the final frame on their way to a less than stellar nine point win over a team that had only won three games.
The 13th loss for Philly now has them tied for the worst record in the NBA with the Los Angeles Clippers who are also 3-13.
The Heat also found themselves gaining support from unheard of players as Carlos Arroyo tied his franchise high with the team at only 17 points, while also tying a career high in three-pointers at three. Joel Anthony also came off the bench with a strong performance with a season high seven points and five rebounds. The stats truly don’t show how much Joel did though, as he was involved in every rebound and hustled on every play.
The crowd was absolutely silent until the Heat’s break out fourth quarter where they were met with a standing ovation prior to a pair of LeBron free throws. It was easy to be less than impressed as the Heat played the first 36 minutes of the game with a lackluster demeanor and an attitude that said they didn’t care if they won or not. Perhaps it was a ploy to show the NBA that they do have the ability to come alive at any moment, but for Heat fans it was a disappointment as Miami should have given this team a beatdown.
No matter though as the team pulled through with a much needed win. It doesn’t get any easier as they now have to travel to Dallas tomorrow night. If they want to prove that they are capable of beating the elite teams of the league, now would be the time to prove it.