Which of Sixers' 13 victories has been the most impressive this season?
It's a question we frequently debate on Sixers Pregame Live and there are two games that repeatedly come up: The season opener at home over Miami and the one on the road over Portland.
The Portland win capped off a five-game West Coast swing. The Sixers were 3-1 on the road trip heading into that matchup, and the Trail Blazers had the best record in the NBA at that time.
The Sixers came up with a defensive stop on the Blazers' final possession to secure the 101-99 victory on Jan. 4 and a season-high four-game win streak.
The win over Miami happened back on Oct. 30. The Sixers jumped out to a 19-0 lead and the Heat needed nearly five minutes to score their first basket. Despite a 45-point third quarter by the the Heat, the Sixers were able to pull off the 114-110 upset.
Knocking off the two-time defending world champions trumps holding the highest-scoring team in the league 10 points below its season average. After all, we are talking LeBron James and the Heat.
Miami returns to Wells Fargo Center on Friday night for the second of three meetings against the Sixers this season. And if you think James and company have forgotten about that letdown against the Sixers at the beginning of the season, think again.
“They blitzed us to start the game, I remember that,” James said after the Heat practiced at Temple's Liacouras Center on Thursday. “It was like 20-2 or 20-1, something like that. They came with a lot of energy and for the most part they controlled the game. Obviously we got back into it in the third quarter, but they played pretty well.”
The Heat have dropped three straight games, with their most recent loss coming on Wednesday to the Washington Wizards. Like the Sixers, the Wizards were able to jump on the Heat early. They held a 43-18 lead after the first quarter.
“It was very similar to last night just in terms of a lack of real collective energy and focus and commitment to do all the things necessary in a game,” Heat head coach Eric Spoelstra said. “Particularly against a young team like that, that plays with great youth, speed and athleticism up and down the court. They won’t let you play at a pace or half speed. We tried to get away with that the first game and it cost us.”