The Miami Heat are a bad basketball team. It's as simple as that, and any Celtics fans out there should take a close look at what has become of this franchise, because this is exactly what you're in store for a couple of years down the road, only you don't even have one young star like Wade.
The Sixers jumped out in front by as many as 21 points in the first half, led by the Andres and Lou Williams. The Heat made it close in the second half, cutting the lead to as few as three, before the Sixers put the pedal to the metal again and finished with a 96-85 win
How bad have things gotten for the Heat? Well, Dalembert played a total of 2 minutes in the first half, and picked up three fouls on Shaq. The Sixers were forced to use a combination of Calvin Booth, Jason Smith and Lou Amundson to cover the Diesel. How did Shaq respond? He scored 5 points on 2/4 from the floor. I realize the guy is older than dirt, but that's just pitiful.
Booth had by far his best game as a Sixers, chipping in with 6 points, 4 boards, 2 assists, 1 steal and 5 blocks in 21 minutes of action. Yes, Calvin Booth outscored Shaq. Funny, right?
The story of the night for the Sixers was Andre Iguodala, who again played like the superstar he is quickly becoming. Here's his final line: 28 points, 7 boards, 4 assists, 2 steals and 1 block. He also hit 2/6 from downtown and keyed the offense down the stretch when the Sixers needed a hoop.
Thad Young saw limited minutes tonight, notable in those minutes was his defensive match ups. He squared off with Wade on at least one occasion and also manned up on Haslem on the low post. His versatility on the defensive side of the ball, as well as his hustle (see the picture at the top of this post) are going to earn him increasing minutes as the season wears on.
The play of the night was delivered by Lou Williams, and I do mean delivered. Lou had the ball in the corner with Wade on him, he faked to the middle of the floor and blew by Wade in the blink of an eye. The weak-side help came from Haslem but Lou went right up and over him, finishing with a one-handed power dunk and a scream at the Miami bench. This kid has arrived.
Rodney Carney got another mercy start, why, I don't know. But he wasn't in there long enough to do too much damage. He finished with 7 points in only 17 minutes.
The Sixers stand at 12-16 after 28 games, they'll be tied with the Nets for the #8 spot in the Eastern Conference if the Pistons hold on to their 12-point lead in N.J. It's important to take a look at the standings right now, because the Sixers are coming up on a potential turning point of the season. Their schedule started out incredibly hard, they weathered the storm, then took advantage of a cushier stretch by going 7-3 over their last 10. Now they head West for a monster 6-game road trip over the next 11 days. They play at Sacramento, Portland, Seattle, Utah, L.A. (Lakers) and Denver. 4-2 would be an unbelievable trip, 3-3 would be great, 2-4 acceptable, 1-5 poor, 0-6 unacceptable. When the Sixers get back from that trip, things won't get any easier. They have Milwaukee at home, Toronto on the road and then the Bulls back at home before they go on a deadly three-game trip making stops in San Antonio, Houston and Boston, after the game at Boston they play the second end of a back-to-back at home against Toronto. A highly unfavorable situation for a home game.
Out of the next 12 games, the Sixers have 10 on the road, mostly against playoff-caliber teams. This stretch will probably define the season, if they can escape the next 12 at 6-6, I think they have a legit shot at the playoffs.Player of The Game:
Off day tomorrow, the trip starts on Friday against the Kings.