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Miami’s one hot stretch dooms Philadelphia to loss at home

Feb 3, 2012, 11:54 PM EDT

LeBron James Dwyane Wade Getty Images

It’s not the 43 minutes of good play, it’s the five minutes when Miami goes on a run that makes it so hard to beat them.

Philadelphia is a seriously good team. At home Friday night they played a close game with last year’s Eastern Conference champions for three quarters. The defense, the ball movement, the balance that makes the Sixers a legitimate Atlantic Division favorite was on display.

But when Miami is at their best — even for a stretch — nobody can hang with them, and when the hurricane is over it’s hard to catch up. Miami went on a 15-0 fourth quarter run to pull away from Philly and win going away 99-79 on Friday night.

It doesn’t diminish how good Philly is — their win over Chicago Wednesday showed how serious a threat they can be.

But when the Heat are executing, they are on another level. And in this game, particularly in the fourth quarter, they did execute. This is not last year’s Heat where LeBron James and Dwyane Wade took turns watching each other. There was a great play in the second quarter where Wade was in the post, Shane Battier fed him the ball and cut baseline and got the ball back on a handoff — and Philly sniffed it out and shut it down. Then LeBron James comes cutting down the lane hard from the weakside wing, Battier makes the pass and it’s a huge dunk. With Miami’s athletes, that is almost impossible to defend.

Miami’s 15-0 run in the fourth quarter came with a rarely-used this season lineup on the floor that was their best playoff lineup last year — James, Wade, Chris Bosh, Mike Miller and Udonis Haslem. Dwyane Wade had nine fourth quarter points on his way to 26 for the game (Miller had 10 in the fourth, LeBron had 19 for the game).

Expect to see more of that lineup, especially when the games matter more. That is a lineup that on offense can shoot from the outside or slash in the lane, one that on defense can switch everything, is gritty and athletic.

The Sixers couldn’t match it. Not sure any team can when they hit their shots.

Miami has not played like this consistently all season. But this is what makes them so tough — you can do everything right for 40 minutes, then in five minutes it all goes away so fast you don’t realize what hit you. And suddenly the game is all but over.

It doesn’t mean the Heat cannot be beat come the playoffs. This is just a perfect illustration of why that will be so very hard to do.

  1. halfcourthero - Feb 4, 2012 at 12:22 AM

    It’s the Heat or bust… They are the overwhelming favorite to win it all

  2. rodgersmvp - Feb 4, 2012 at 12:34 AM

    Except the Bucks for some reason…strangest thing in basketball

  3. passerby23 - Feb 4, 2012 at 12:44 AM

    Could be Heat-Bucks in the first round. Would be interesting to see.

  4. kandh2004 - Feb 4, 2012 at 12:54 AM

    Yo Kurt did you watch the game the refs were so horrible that I wanted to kick a ball in the stands. I’m not saying that the Sixers would have won but man at least make it even

    • areyesrn - Feb 4, 2012 at 4:00 AM

      The refs treated the entire Heat team like Michael Jordan

      • 1972wasalongtimeago - Feb 4, 2012 at 8:14 AM

        Heat made exactly one more FT than the Sixers.

      • tcclark - Feb 4, 2012 at 11:38 AM

        It’s not the makes that matter. it’s the attempts. All year I’ve watched guys like Evan Turner get absolutely mauled in the paint and not get a call so you can understand my frustration when i see Lebron and Dwayne Wade get some of the softest calls i have ever seen. if a guy swats his hand in their general direction it’s a foul. For a team like the sixers, missed shots tun into fast break points. By just blowing the whistle, the refs are forcing them into a half court set. It hurts their game plan and their momentum.

        I can understand people giving thumbs down because they think we’re being sore losers, but there really is no way of pointing out the obvious without sounding that way. We all know that stars get preferential treatment in the NBA. they have earned the “respect” of the officials and so they help them out, so it becomes completely unfair when one team has three guys with that “respect” and another team has none.

  5. espfdps - Feb 4, 2012 at 1:30 AM

    I would give the heat credit, but this game had they most one sided officiating i’ve ever seen. It was deplorable.

  6. bearsstillsuck - Feb 4, 2012 at 4:34 AM

    Kurt’s knees must be sore after that.

  7. diablito0402 - Feb 4, 2012 at 7:19 AM

    Hey kurt do you live in miami,,??? Just asking..

  8. 1972wasalongtimeago - Feb 4, 2012 at 8:12 AM

    Any comments about the 4th Quarter?

    • southbeachtalent - Feb 6, 2012 at 1:14 PM

      No, only failures are pointed out. Success is expected.

  9. jssgriffi - Feb 4, 2012 at 9:12 AM

    I love how you “reporters” fail to actually see what went on in that game! The sixers had twice as many fouls called on them, something is wrong there. Lebron is aloud to push an offensive player while they are driving to the hoop and no foul. That’s what I hate about the nba. Star treatment is bullshit

    • Kurt Helin - Feb 4, 2012 at 11:26 AM

      The Heat got to the line because they were the team that attacked the rim, got shots near the basket and attacked. In the NBA, the team that is the aggressor gets the calls. (That’s true at all levels, actually.)

      • tcclark - Feb 4, 2012 at 11:46 AM

        When a team can attack the rim and get the calls of course they are going to do it, but the Sixers don’t get the calls. The Sixers players get attacked in the paint, but they don’t get the treatment of a guy like Lebron. On Lebron’s big offensive rebound/ lay-up play that you can see on the ESPN highlights, he pushed off the defender for the rebound, took a step in the lane, Jodie Meeks swatted at the ball and missed EVERYTHING, and lebron laid it up and got the foul. That’s a three point swing. He should’ve been called for the push off and it would’ve been Philadelphia’s ball, instead he gets the board and the call.

  10. kvanhorn87 - Feb 4, 2012 at 9:13 AM

    1972, that just means their free throw percentage s*^ked. They were allowed to beat the Sixers on almost every drive with the whistles being silent. Thad young was continually mauled with no calls. The Heat still would have won but it would have been a much tighter game. Without a bias, watch the game again please. Not sour milk, as all great teams get the star treatment and the Sixers need to find a way to win in spite of it. Lebron looked like Michael Irvin with his offensive push offs.

    • tcclark - Feb 4, 2012 at 11:56 AM

      Thank you for mentioning Thad Young. How many times did he just throw up a prayer of a hook shot, because he thought he got fouled? Mean while dwayne wade jumps into a stationary defender, makes the shot, and gets the and-1

  11. uscfan1988 - Feb 4, 2012 at 9:53 AM

    It’s the NBA deal with the calls I’m a laker fan and we almost got screwed on that play by Nene, you just got to roll with it.

  12. ceschatz - Feb 4, 2012 at 10:44 AM

    Hahahahahaha. Are you guys really that pathetic to blame the heats success in the refs? Wow, the haters just can’t let it go.

    • tcclark - Feb 4, 2012 at 11:52 AM

      I’m generally an unbiased fan. I am a Sixers fan, but I consider myself a basketball fan first. Try to watch a game from an unbiased perspective. your team gets so many calls it is ridiculous. The NBA does it for all star players, and you guys just happen to have 3. Honestly, these are the players who don’t need the calls. these are the guys who can take a little contact and still make a great play, but they’ve become like quarterbacks, you can’t touch them without getting a foul called. I’m not saying that they succeed because of foul calls, but i’d really be interested to see how they play if they don’t get them.

  13. bleed4philly - Feb 4, 2012 at 11:12 AM

    That’s why the Sixers need a superstar, so they can get their share of the calls. NBA refs are the worst, no hand-checking rule actually just means no hand-checking a superstar.

  14. noirad - Feb 4, 2012 at 11:20 AM

    Miami won by 20. Doesn’t seem like 5 minutes determined this win. Miami was just the better team tonight, and executed down the stretch. Simple as that.

    • tcclark - Feb 4, 2012 at 11:54 AM

      even your own commentators were talking about how hard fought of a basketball game it was through three quarters. They even had to defend their own broadcast, because Heat fans kept tweeting that they were giving the Sixers too much credit.

  15. kvanhorn87 - Feb 4, 2012 at 11:25 AM

    Noirad, did you watch the game? The Sixers tied the game in the 4th quarter. Then in the next 5 the Heat put on the jets. It literally was all about the 5-6 minute stretch. Sixers d was tough the first. 3 quarters. If you won’t admit that, then you are just stuck on the heats n*^s

  16. halflight420 - Feb 5, 2012 at 11:29 AM

    i think the 76ers win if iggy’s buzzer beat had counted, going into the locker room with that much excitement, oth the Heat played great. they didn’t need to help from the refs but it was bad officiating

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