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Danny

Miami HEAT at Philadelphia 76ers Official Game Thread and Preview

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(Photo Credit: Jesse Garrabrant)

The Miami HEAT wrap up their road trip tonight as they take on the Philadelphia 76ers. The HEAT have won nine straight games overall. The HEAT are 11-0 in their last 11 regular season contests against the 76ers. Tip off is set for 7:30 PM; coverage on Sun Sports starts at 7 PM.

1. Since March 2009, the HEAT are 11-0 against the 76ers in the regular season, 15-1 if you include the 2011 playoff series. Is it fair to say the HEAT have the 76ers’ number?

Couper Moorhead: Less so the 76ers and more the 76ers style of play. Apart from a brilliant stretch early last season when it looked like Philly had taken a leap, Doug Collins’ group has always relied a bit too much on dribble heavy, isolation offense that essentially plays right into Miami’s hands. They have some talented players that can make you work on defense, but far too often a typical defensive possession features just one or two help rotations, which the HEAT can do in their sleep when on their game.

Danny Martinez: The last two seasons, the 76ers were referred to as “Miami-lite” in some circles. Like the HEAT, they were maybe a touch vertically challenged, but made up for it with wingspan and quickness. They excelled on the defensive end, making things really tough for their opponents. The problem that the 76ers ran into with the HEAT was the HEAT could do just about everything they did at a higher level. Now, the 76ers look a lot different. Roster changes make things a little different this season, but it’s safe to say the HEAT have the 76ers’ number.

2. Coming into the season, the 76ers were looking for big steps forward from Jrue Holiday and Evan Turner. How have they fared this season?

Couper: They’ve both improved nicely, Holiday obviously playing his way into the All-Star game as he increased his numbers – including a huge jump in assist rate – across the board, in part thanks to a higher usage rate in the absence of Andre Iguodala and Elton Brand. Turner is still a balanced wing player that rebounds incredibly well and can make plays for others, and he’s added a corner three to his repertoire that he can hit in a pinch even if defenses still don’t respect him as a shooter.

The main issue for both players is that they don’t get to the free-throw line as often as they shoot given how much of their offense comes from dribble drives. Isolation offense is useful, but it can cripple an offense if you aren’t incredibly efficient, as the constant dribbling is pretty easy for a defense to size up.

Danny: Jrue Holiday has made the leap from good young player to All-Star. At just 22, Holiday has been able to keep his production up at an increased usage, no small feat. Also, Holiday has seen his assist percentage almost double from a season ago. Holiday still has some improvements to make, namely three-point shooting and getting to the line, but he’s made significant progress.

Evan Turner hasn’t made the same jump as Holiday. His rate numbers this season aren’t much different from last season. Turner still struggles to shoot efficiently from the field and doesn’t get to the line enough to break even as an offensive player. To be fair to Turner, he’s played in numerous different roles for the 76ers through his first three seasons, which has made his development a little bit tricky.

3. LeBron James is currently on pace to have the highest effective field-goal percentage (gives extra weight to threes) by a non-center with a usage percentage of 25 percent or higher. Can he keep this up?

Couper: At this point, I’m not putting anything past him. I naturally want to say that James can’t keep shooting as well as he has, but he’s actually been missing a few jumpers lately and his efficiency motors on at a historically high rate. He’s so in control of every game now that when his jumper isn’t working, he can simply alter his shot selection. But the jumper has been working all season, so there’s no reason he can’t keep it up. This might just be who James is now – a frightening idea.

Danny: At some point his shooting will slow down. It has to, right? The tear James has been on is unprecedented for a wing player. He’s making shots from all over the floor, perhaps most impressively, behind the arc. In February, James is 17-for-37 (45.9%) from three. Three of those attempts have been end of shot clock/quarter heaves that came outside the offense. I doubt James shoots over 60 percent from the field the rest of the way, but he doesn’t have to 'regress' to 50 percent, either.

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Very bad timing for a team that's been raped specifically by the Heat. Don't feel pitty though we're aware of the run theyv'e made the last time, the last year but don't be bothered either. Closing out some road trip of a high note.

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I'm sure that many of us are wondering which HEAT squad is going to show up for this trap game? With MIAMI owning the 76ers over the last few years, it could easily send a bad message to just coast through. MIAMI must put these young pups to bed early to extingush any hopes of them winning. The 76ers young guns are a confident bunch if they're allowed to get out and run. This win will also widen the cushion in the east, and get MIAMI a game closer to best record...TEAM HEAT since '88!

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YEAH TODAY IS MY BIRTHDAY!!!!!!!!!!! this will go easy!!!!!!!!!! HEAT NIGGAZ

Happy birthday dude. They beat the Bulls on my birthday

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I'm liking the ball movement and the focus of the Heat! I'm looking for more of the same in the second half. Let's go Heat!!!

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How about Wade shooting tonight? If Wade keeps his shooting consistent, I mean forget it

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LeBron playing at a historic pace, Wade regaining form. This is getting scary. Bosh getting back on track would make it unfair.

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Typical game for Lebron. Rio was alright. Wade was hot tonight, hopefully he shows up next game and the role players were good.

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Typical game for Lebron. Rio was alright. Wade was hot tonight, hopefully he shows up next game and the role players were good.

Wow KKinsey. The GOAT has 14pts/6assts/3stls as the 5th option on this team and he was alright? Madness!!! ;)

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Wow KKinsey. The GOAT has 14pts/6assts/3stls as the 5th option on this team and he was alright? Madness!!! ;)

Exactly it was an alright game for him.

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My ***** wade making me proud *crys*. Only got to see 5 minutes of this game but looks like he and the team had a great game.

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Miami has been looking very good over this 10 game winning streak. They're almost at championship form. Keep hustlin' Miami!!!

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My ***** wade making me proud *crys*. Only got to see 5 minutes of this game but looks like he and the team had a great game.

His FT's tho...

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