Sixers can't measure up to Heat in 99-79 loss

Posted: February 03, 2012

The 76ers and their fans have been looking for a measuring stick, a competitor against whom they might be able to tell just where they stand when they stack up their impressive record against the elite teams of the NBA.

On Friday, in front of their first sellout crowd (20,694) at Wells Fargo Center, they ran into a healthy Miami Heat team and got the message, loud and clear, suffering their worst home loss of the season, 99-79.

The Heat did everything against the Sixers that so many teams have tried and failed to do.They shot the ball extremely well (51.3 percent). And they dominated the Sixers on the boards, carving out a 47-38 advantage.

Miami (17-6) held the Sixers (16-7) to just 39.5 percent shooting from the floor. Thaddeus Young led the Sixers with 16 points. Jodie Meeks and Evan Turner both had 13 for the Sixers. Elton Brand was held scoreless in 23 minutes. Tony Battie, starting for injured Spencer Hawes, was also held scorless.

Miami's Dwyane Wade led all scorers with 26 points. LeBron James added 19 points, 12 rebounds and eight assists for the Heat, and Chris Bosh added 12 points. Miami held the Sixers to just 32 points in the second quarter while scoring 32 points in the fourth quarter

The Sixers trailed for almost all of the first quarter but never more than five points, which came early in the period.

If there was a bad sign for the Sixers it was that the Heat, the top scoring team in the league, seemed to get the shots that they wanted on the way to making 10 of 19 field goals (52.6 percent) in the quarter.

The Sixers led briefly in the first when Andre Iguodala found a cutting Thaddeus Young for a layup, giving the Sixers a 21-20 lead with two minutes left in the quarter.

That lead didn't last very long but it never grew any larger than six points in the half, which is what it reached when Bosh scored on a layup to give the Heat a 51-45 lead.

Down by 34-28 following a basket by Miami's Norris Cole, the Sixers used a 10-3 run capped by Young's reverse layup with 5:04 left in the half for a 38-37 lead.

The Sixers never let the Heat get out of their range in the third quarter, and after Iguodala fed LaVoy Allen for a 17-foot jumper to pull the score even at 61-61, it looked as if this game was going down to the wire.

The Sixers were coming off wins earlier this week against Central Division-leading Chicago, and earlier in the week they defeated visiting Orlando and all-star center Dwight Howard. Sixers coach Doug Collins has referred to this stretch of the schedule as "murderers row," and it won't get much easier in the foreseeable future.

The Sixers play at Atlanta Saturday, and then return to Wells Fargo Center next week for games against the Los Angeles Lakers, San Antonio Spurs and the revitalized Los Angeles Clippers.

When the teams met almost two weeks ago in Miami, the Sixers, without the services of Spencer Hawes - who missed his 10 straight game with a strained left Achilles tendon - the Sixers battled the Heat closely for three quarters.

The momentum changed completely in Miami's favor near the end of the third quarter, however, when rookie center Nik Vucevic suffered a strained left knee. Trailing by just six points at the time, the Heat dominated the rest of the way and went on to hand the Sixers their biggest loss of the season, 113-92.


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

 

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