Wade-less Heat still overwhelm Sixers, 113-92

The Heat's LeBron James, who scored 28 points, soars to shoot over the Sixers' Elton Brand.
The Heat's LeBron James, who scored 28 points, soars to shoot over the Sixers' Elton Brand. (LYNNE SLADKY / Associated Press)
Posted: January 22, 2012

MIAMI - When you have the weapons that the Miami Heat have, even when one of them is missing, there are going to be nights when this just looks too easy for them.

This was the case Saturday against the 76ers. Feisty for most of the night, the Sixers simply didn't have access to weaponry like the Heat have.

LeBron James scored 16 of his 28 points in the second half, and Chris Bosh finished with a game-high 30 to lead the Heat to a 113-92 victory over the Sixers (11-5) at American Airlines Arena.

Lou Williams led the Sixers with 22 points, and Evan Turner finished with 16.

The Heat connected on 54.3 percent of their field goals (44 for 81) and outscored the Sixers in the second half, 57-43.

"They were ready tonight - they were very, very sharp from the start," Sixers coach Doug Collins said of the Heat. "We fought. We hung around there for a little bit. But they wore us down. They wore on us and they wore us down."

Miami outrebounded the Sixers, 52-31. James and Bosh both had nine rebounds and reserve forward Udonis Haslem pulled down a game-high 10 boards.

The Heat (11-4) were playing their third game in a row without superstar guard Dwyane Wade (sprained left ankle) and their sixth overall without him. However, in his place the Heat have started veteran Shane Battier in their last two games, and the results have been promising.

The Heat were coming off a resounding win over the Los Angeles Lakers on Thursday night and had a day's rest. Prior to that, in their first game after a five-game West Coast road trip that saw them lose the last three games, Miami came back home and dismantled the San Antonio Spurs, 120-98.

The Sixers were playing their third game in a row minus the services of starting center Spencer Hawes (strained left Achilles). The Sixers are hopeful that they will get him back by Monday, when they return home to play lowly Washington.

However, they are in no hurry to rush Hawes back, especially with a schedule this week that will see them host, in addition to the Wizards, New Jersey, Charlotte, and Detroit (a combined 12-49 before Saturday's games).

"We have to be ready for this stretch of the season because it's the most important stretch of the season for us so far," Collins said.

Asked when he might return to the lineup, Hawes, in street clothes, replied: "Hopefully, Monday."

The Sixers got another scare when, with just under five minutes to play in the third quarter and the Sixers down by just 67-64, rookie center Nikola Vucevic, starting in place of Hawes, had to be helped from the court after suffering a left knee strain. He did return to the bench but did not play the rest of the way.

"I felt like I could have gone out there and helped the team, but Coach decided to not put me back in," Vucevic said. "I'm going to come in tomorrow and get treatment and get back on the court as soon as I can."

The Heat capitalized on this loss, closing the period on 14-6 run. This was part of a larger, 25-10 run that gave the Heat a comfortable, 92-73 advantage after a Bosh jumper with a little more than nine minutes remaining in the game.

Contact staff writer John N. Mitchell at jmitchell@philly.com or @deepsixer3 on Twitter.

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