PHILADELPHIA (AP)—The Shaq-less Miami Heat aren’t much different than they were before trading the 14-time All-Star center.
Miami has lost six straight games and 21 of its last 22—and the frustration is showing.
“I don’t look at the standings,” Heat guard Dwyane Wade said. “I know we are at the bottom.”
The Heat struggled throughout, and nobody more than Wade.
Wade scored 19 points on 5-for-17 shooting, below his 24.3 per-game average.
“We tried to put a lot of players in his vision and fortunately for us he didn’t shoot the ball well, the way he’s capable of shooting” Sixers coach Maurice Cheeks said.
Heat coach Pat Riley believes he is getting the best he can hope for out of Wade, his team leader, and the rest of the Heat.
“I think he’s handling it as well as he could,” Riley said of how Wade had dealt with the commotion of the last two days. “He’s got some frustration, but it’s character-building time for the whole team. We’re in a deep rut emotionally.”
But the Heat seemed eager to put the events of the last few days behind them, and didn’t hesitate to look ahead to what Marion, a four-time All-Star, can contribute to a staggering club.
“They’ll add to our team, that’s for sure,” Wade said of the newcomers who are expected to be in uniform for Sunday’s home game against the Los Angeles Lakers. “We’re really looking forward to our new guys coming in and the other guys who are coming back.
“Shawn Marion does it all.”
Marion and Banks weren’t in the lineup Thursday because they were still undergoing their physicals. The Heat had nine players in uniform for their second straight game. They were down to eight players in the second half after losing Alexander Johnson to an ankle injury with just over seven minutes left in the second period.
The Sixers held a three-point lead heading into the fourth quarter and used a 12-3 run to break the game open.
“Any time you have a team hanging around like that, things can go either way towards the end of the game,” Green said. “We all know that you can’t take any NBA team for granted.
“Even if they haven’t won a game yet, you don’t want them to win against you.”
During Philadelphia’s run, Miami endured a game-deciding 1-for-11 shooting slump.
“We had a horrible second half … 9-for-41, I think, and were even worse in the fourth quarter,” Riley said. “I saw a lot of fatigue and frustration out there, but a lot of energy.”
Ultimately, it was the kind of game fans would expect from a nine-win team still trying to deal with the loss of a standout player against a 19-win club. There were plenty of turnovers (32), forced shots, fouls (51) and missed opportunities.
Trailing by four points at the end of the first half, Miami battled back and took its first lead of the second half 68-67 on a three-point play by Blount.
The Sixers countered by scoring the last six points of the third quarter to take a 75-72 lead with a period remaining.
“We had a one-point lead late in the third, and then we didn’t make any shots,” Wade said.
The Sixers got the best of the Heat in a lackluster first half. Philadelphia opened up a 50-40 lead on two free throws by Green with just over 3:30 remaining in the second quarter.
Miller shot 6-for-12 and had 15 points in the first half for the Sixers.
Wade led the Heat in the first half with 13 points and eight assists.
The Heat committed 11 turnovers in the first half, while the 76ers made six.
Miami forward Udonis Haslem missed his fifth straight game with a sprained left ankle. The Heat face the Los Angeles Lakers at home on Sunday. …Reggie Evans had a strong game for the 76ers, finishing with 14 rebounds, including 11 defensive, eight points, three steals and two assists.