Posted: April 16, 2014
It feels like only yesterday that the Sixers defeated the defending champion Miami Heat in front of an electric Wells Fargo Center crowd on opening night. That October 30 victory was the first of three straight to open the season, all against playoff teams. Wednesday, the Sixers have the opportunity to end the 2013-14 campaign the way they began it, with a win against the Heat.
Bucking the Trend
Before their season-opening upset win, the Sixers hadn’t beaten the Heat in a regular season contest since March of 2009. If Philadelphia can end the year with a victory in Miami, they would secure their first season series triumph over Miami since 2007-08.
In a 114-93 loss to the Wizards on Monday, the Heat did not dress All-Stars LeBron James or Chris Bosh, electing to rest them ahead of the postseason. Meanwhile, Dwyane Wade returned to action on Saturday after missing nine straight games with a hamstring injury and also played in Monday’s loss. Head coach Erik Spoelstra confirmed that James and Bosh will sit again Wednesday; Chris Anderson and Mario Chalmers also will not play. Wade is expected to play.
Over the final weeks of the season, reserve guards Elliot Williams and Tony Wroten stepped up offensively to provide the Sixers with some juice off the bench. Williams has notched nine straight games with double-digit points, more than doubling his season total for games with 10+ points, 17. Since March 29, he’s averaging 11.7 points per game on 54.8% shooting from the floor and 39.1% from beyond the arc. Tony Wroten has strung together a stretch of five games in which he’s averaged 14.8 points on 50.0% shooting in just 23.3 minutes per game.
As the Sixers prepare to enter the offseason, their attention will quickly turn to the construction of next year’s roster. On Monday, head coach Brett Brown said that he hopes center Henry Sims will be in the mix. Undrafted in 2012 out of Georgetown, the 24-year-old big man was a relative unknown to Sixers fans fans when he was acquired by the team at the trade deadline in February. Since coming off the bench in his Philadelphia debut, he’s started each of the team’s last 24 games, averaging 12.2 points (48.9 FG%), 7.0 rebounds, and 1.8 assists.
|Category||Sixers (18-63)||Heat (54-27)|
|PPG||Thaddeus Young – 17.9||LeBron James – 27.1|
|RPG||Henry Sims – 7.0||LeBron James – 6.9|
|APG||Michael Carter-Williams – 6.3||LeBron James – 6.4|
|SPG||Thaddeus Young – 2.1||Mario Chalmers – 1.6|
|BPG||Jarvis Varnado – 1.3||Chris Andersen – 1.3|