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Miami Heat vs. Philadelphia 76ers Game Preview: Trap Game
- Updated: December 23, 2014
(Miami, FL) – The Miami Heat (13-15) will try to win two games in a row at home for just the second time this season when they meet the Philadelphia 76ers (3-23) at American Airlines Arena on Tuesday night.
The Heat, playing without center Chris Bosh and shooting guard Dwyane Wade, defeated the Boston Celtics on Sunday in Miami, 100-84. Bosh has missed the last five games with a strained left calf, while Wade was a late scratch against the Celtics due to soreness in his right knee.
Reserve center Hassan Whiteside was also unavailable because of a hurt left toe.
Coach Erik Spoelstra took the latest injury news in stride.
“I’m happy for the guys in the locker room, (especially) finding out a handful of minutes before the game that Dwyane and Hassan weren’t going to play…The guys put together – regardless of the result – a real tough-minded effort and gave ourselves a chance at this game. I liked seeing that,” said a pleased Spoelstra in his postgame press conference.
He added, “The guys were just really pure about helping us get a win, however many minutes it was going to be. That mentality is probably more encouraging than anything else – whoever played had a positive impact.”
Indeed, the short-handed Heat put together one of their strongest team efforts of the season, with six players scoring in double-figures. Forward Luol Deng led the Heat with 23 points, while point guard Mario Chalmers recorded a double-double with 11 points and 10 assists.
“Guys stepped up. We played together…this was a step forward. We really needed it. You win a game like this, a lot of guys — their confidence gets bigger and it will help us going forward,” Deng told reporters after the game.
Second-year forward James Ennis pulled down eight rebounds in the game and scored 10 points in the fourth quarter to help put the Celtics away for good.
Deng singled out Ennis’ effort for praise after the game.
“He was great. James had a lot of energy; his rebounding was great. James is a good player and he’s going to keep on getting better. Once he becomes consistent, he’s going to be a tough player,” said Deng of his teammate’s performance.
The 76ers – who have the worst record in the NBA – can actually sweep their trip to Florida with a win over the Heat. The 76ers defeated the Orlando Magic on Sunday, 96-88.
Five 76ers players scored in double figures in that rare victory, including point guard Michael Carter-Williams, who had 21 points, six assists and four rebounds for the game.
Nerlens Noel, Philadelphia’s starting center, also had a big game with 13 points and 12 rebounds.
Although the 76ers have the lowest scoring offense in the league, averaging just over 91 points per game, and the worst winning percentage at .115, the team’s three wins (also a league-worst) have all come on the road.
The Heat, meanwhile, have not won two consecutive games at home since the first week of the season. As it happens, Miami trounced the 76ers in Philadelphia that same week in their first meeting of the season.
Both teams were victorious in the Sunshine State on Sunday, but only one will walk off the court tonight with a two-game winning streak.
Tipoff is set for 7:30 PM EST on Tuesday night at American Airlines Arena. The game will be broadcast on Sun Sports.