Miami Heat vs. Philadelphia 76ers: Preview, Analysis and Predictions

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Miami Heat vs. Philadelphia 76ers: Preview, Analysis and Predictions
Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

In a rematch of the 2011 NBA playoffs, the Miami Heat will travel to play the Philadelphia 76ers. It's safe to say that both teams have changed over the past two seasons.

Will the result?

Thus far in 2012-13, the 76ers are 24-39 and 18-16 at home. They've also lost 13 of their past 16 and appear to have eliminated themselves from postseason contention.

With that said, the Sixers are coming off of a 106-97 win over a high-quality Brooklyn Nets team.

As for Miami, they're 48-14 overall and 18-11 on the road. More importantly, they've won 19 games in a row.

Will they maintain their legendary streak against Philadelphia?

 

Time: Wednesday, Mar. 13 at 7:00 p.m. EDT

TV: SUN & CSN

Records: Miami Heat (48-14, 18-11 road) at Philadelphia 76ers (24-39, 18-16 home)

Betting Line: Heat (-8.5)

 

Miami Heat Injury Report

N/A

 

Philadelphia 76ers Injury Report

Andrew Bynum, Multiple Knee Injuries, Out

Jason Richardson, Left Knee Surgery, Out

Nick Young, Sprained Left Ankle, Questionable

 

Key Storyline: Preserving the Streak

Chris Trotman/Getty Images

The Miami Heat are in the midst of a 19-game winning streak. With one more victory, the Heat will own the fourth 20-game regular-season winning streak in NBA history.

Can they reach it?

They may be the favored team in this battle, but that doesn't mean this is an easy win. There is a reason that few teams have ever reached this plateau, as it is virtually impossible to sustain success for such an extended period of time.

Miami's ability to defy logic simply leads to one truth—the streak will eventually end. Won't it?

If it does, Philly could be the team to do it.

 

Key Matchup: Chris Bosh vs. Spencer Hawes

Marc Serota/Getty Images

During his past five games, Spencer Hawes is averaging 14.8 points, 8.8 rebounds, 3.2 assists and 1.2 blocks. Most recently, Hawes posted 24 points, 10 rebounds, seven assists and two blocks against the Brooklyn Nets.

The Sixers won that game—a victory that snapped a five-game losing streak.

Matched up against Chris Bosh, Hawes will have a size and strength advantage. The question, of course, is whether he can overcome another All-Star en route to a dominant performance.

If he can, the Sixers will have a chance to win this game.

For every bit of size that Bosh gives up, however, he excels from a fundamental perspective. With his ability to space the floor and work the mid-range area, Bosh will prove why he's considered as an elite big.

If Bosh can perform at his normal level, Miami will meet expectations and achieve victory.

 

X-Factor: Dorell Wright, Philadelphia 76ers

USA TODAY Sports

When the Philadelphia 76ers play host to the Miami Heat, there is no question that they will be a strong underdog. With that in mind, it's rather likely that the Sixers will need a superstar-caliber performance from one of their scorers.

Who better than former Heat forward Dorell Wright?

The last time these two teams met, Wright scored 14 points on 5-of-10 shooting from the floor and 3-of-6 from distance. As a result of his hot shooting, the Heat led by just one point entering the fourth quarter.

From there on out, Wright went cold.

If Wright can keep it going for four quarters, the Sixers will be able to pull out this upset. However, If he goes cold late, Philly will lose their most dangerous source of three-point shooting.

The former Heat player could determine this outcome.

 

Prediction

When the Philadelphia 76ers host the Miami Heat, there will be a significant disparity in terms of talent. With that being said, the Sixers are one of the better home teams in the Eastern Conference.

Who will win?

Submit Vote vote to see results

Unfortunately, Philly is 3-13 since Feb. 4—Miami is 19-0 since Feb. 3.

If Andrew Bynum were healthy, the Sixers would have a chance at victory. Unfortunately, Bynum is joined by Nick Young and Jason Richardson on the sidelines.

This is a weakened and plummeting Sixers team going against the hottest squad in the league.

Jrue Holiday will keep the Sixers in it through three, but Philly just won't have enough down the stretch. LeBron James will take over, per usual, and Chris Bosh will step up and space the floor against Spencer Hawes.

With Dwyane Wade taking over the fourth, it will be another loss for the 76ers and another win for Miami.

Miami Heat 107, Philadelphia 76ers 96

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