Philadelphia 76ers at Miami HEAT Game Preview
Photo Credit: Issac Baldizon
The Miami HEAT host the Philadelphia 76ers Tuesday night in Dwyane Wade’s final regular season game at AmericanAirlines Arena. Get your tickets now! Tip-off is set for 7:30 PM, but a special ceremony begins at 7PM. Television coverage is on FOX Sports Sun. You can also listen to the action live on 790 The Ticket.
1: First things first, what is the playoff picture looking like?
Couper Moorhead: We’ve been comparatively optimistic around here the last few weeks, but at this point it’s not looking great. The HEAT currently sit at the No. 10 spot, tied with the surging Charlotte Hornets and a game behind the No. 8 Detroit Pistons. Because the HEAT don’t have tiebreakers against either of those teams, here’s what needs to happen in order for them to get into the postseason.
-Detroit must lose to Memphis and New York
-Charlotte must lose to either Cleveland or Orlando (Magic have already clinched a playoff spot)
-Miami must beat both Philadelphia (seed already clinched) and Brooklyn (playoffs clinched)
In other words, if Detroit wins one more game, or Charlotte wins both of their games, the HEAT are out of the playoffs no matter what they do Tuesday and Wednesday. As they stand right now, the odds are certainly not in their favor.
Joe Beguiristain: As Coup mentioned above, the HEAT are in dire straits when it comes to the playoffs.
Even if they take care of their own business against a 76ers team that doesn’t have Joel Embiid or JJ Redick and a Nets squad that’s already clinched, there’s no guarantee they’ll be in. It’ll be tough, but Miami has to block out the noise, stay positive and play its best basketball in these last two games to give itself a chance.
2: What is your own personal favorite Dwyane Wade moment?
Couper: It’s what happened after what was, at the time, one of his lowest moments. It’s tough to properly explain just how down everything felt after the HEAT lost Game 3 in Indiana in 2012, but with Chris Bosh injured and Wade scoring just 5 points on 2-of-13 shooting – with the 2011 Finals loss to Dallas in the rearview mirror – the ‘noise’, as the team calls it, around that second round series was deafening. With a full two days off before Game 4, it seemed everyone involved had to do a little soul searching, with Wade famously reaching out to coach Tom Crean, then head coach at Indiana University.
But when Game 4 finally arrived, Wade was incredible as he and LeBron James played off of each other perfectly, Wade going for 30 and James dropping in 40, and two games later the HEAT finished off the series, back in Indiana, behind Wade 41 points on 25 shots. It was a virtuoso capper to a series that seemed to be headed in the wrong direction, and something I’ll always remember Wade for. No matter how bad things seemed, more often than not he found a way to right the ship.
Joe: So many moments come to mind, from his “This Is My House” game in March of 2009 to his latest game winner against the Warriors in February of this year. And from a broader perspective, you have his ’06 title run, his entire ’08-09 MV3 Campaign in which he won the scoring title and his timely clutch performances when the HEAT made the Finals from 2011-2014.
But for me, an underrated moment in his career came on Feb. 12, 2006 against the Pistons. Just eight months prior, Detroit defeated Miami in the Eastern Conference Finals largely due to a rib injury Wade sustained in Game 5. And on this particular Sunday afternoon in a nationally televised game on ABC, Wade brought the HEAT back from a double-digit deficit and scored 18 points in the fourth quarter, including the game-winning jumper with 2.3 seconds left. Not only did that victory give Miami its first win over Detroit since that aforementioned Game 5, but it also set off a run of 13 wins in its next 14 games.
That’s the influence of D. Wade.
3: What do you expect and/or hope to see for Wade in his final regular season games?
Couper: Whatever he wants. The HEAT obviously want to win these games given that they still have an outside shot at the postseason (though Detroit could decide that before Tuesday night’s game is even finished), but when it comes to Wade he’s earned the right to go out like he wants to go out. If that means getting up every shot he can get up, as he’s hinted at before, then so be it. However many points he ends up scoring, as long as it’s enough for Wade to leave the game feeling at peace, then that should be enough for everyone else.
Joe: I just want to see him go out on his terms.
All year long, Wade has provided a major spark off the bench with his innate ability to fit passes into tight windows and make tough shots. That's certainly been the case over the past four games, as the 37-year-old is averaging 19.8 points, 5.3 assists and 4.5 rebounds per contest on 45.9 percent shooting during that span.
We’ll see what Father Prime pulls out of his bag of tricks this time around.
- The HEAT have dropped their two previous matchups with the 76ers this season.
- Miami has lost four straight and is 38-42, while Philadelphia has dropped three of four and enters the contest at 50-30.
- Dwyane Wade has scored in double-figures in 16 consecutive games off the bench, which is tied for the longest streak in franchise history.
- Ben Simmons leads the 76ers in assists (7.8) and steals (1.4) per game.
- Josh Richardson (Left Hip Strain) is out.
- HEAT Offense: 106.8 (25)
- HEAT Defense: 107.2 (7)
- 76ers Offense: 111.5 (8)
- 76ers Defense: 108.8 (12)