Philadelphia 76ers (24-39; 18-16 Home) vs. Miami Heat (48-14; 18-11 Road)
Time: 6:00 PM ET
Offensive Rating: Philadelphia – 98.9 (27th); Miami – 110.3 (2nd)
Defensive Rating: Philadelphia – 102.8 (14th); Miami – 100.9 (9th)
Vegas: Miami -8.5
Preview: In Monday’s 106-97 win over the Nets, the Sixers shot 40-76 from the field, 8-15 from 3-point range, and took 27 free throws — ten more than their 29th ranked season average. Plus, they had 31 assists and only six turnovers. But even a broken basketball team is right twice a month.
If the Sixers somehow play like they did on Monday, they’ll have a chance to end Miami’s 19-game winning streak. They are playing at home, where their record is a respectable 18-16, while Miami is playing on the second night of a back-to-back. It’s also potentially a letdown game for the Heat. They’re coming off games against Atlanta and Indiana, and they have the Bucks coming up on Friday. (For reasons beyond my comprehension, Milwaukee gives Miami fits. MIL lost to the Heat in OT in November and won by 19 in December. Last season, the Bucks took two of three.)
But assuming the Sixers don’t shoot 50+ percent from the 3-point line and manage a 5:1 assist to turnover rate, tonight’s game will play out just like the last 17 regular season games against LeBron.
Miami coming in: Lost to Indiana 102-89 on Feb. 1, won the next 19.
Three things to watch:
1. Throwin’ back mid-range? The Sixers took 16 shots from 16-24 feet against the Nets — three fewer attempts than their season average — and it resulted in their highest regulation scoring total since the Jan. 12 107-100 win over the Rockets. (Disclaimer: small, insignificant sample size.)
2. King James in the paint. Via Tom Haberstroh on TrueHoop TV: According to SportsVU’s 3D cameras, which have tracked 13 Heat road games, LeBron shoots 81 percent when he drives into the lane. The Heat also score an average of 1.7 points when their MVP takes it to the rack. The Sixers will try to keep the King out of the paint and force him to take midrange jumpers. He’s pretty dangerous there, too.
3. Rio. Mario Chalmers has been killing it from 3-point land, where he is 11-16 in his last three games. The Sixers stuck Jrue Holiday on him the last couple games, but with all the help defense required on LeBron, Wade, and Bosh, he’ll inevitably get some open looks tonight. As will Ray Allen and Shane Battier,who took eight 3-pointers in the previous matchup.
Stop by after the game for some reactions. Thanks for reading.