The Sixers (13-25) will try to make it two in a row over the Miami Heat (27-11) on Friday night.
Fresh off a thrilling, last-second victory over the Charlotte Bobcats on Wednesday, the Sixers surely haven’t forgotten about the opening-night upset victory over the Heat.
Then again, the Heat haven’t forgotten, either (see story).
So with that in mind, here are a few things to look out for in the matchup:
1. Paybacks can be hell …
That opening-night victory over the Heat remains the signature victory of the season for the Sixers. With five players making their debut with the Sixers, not including head coach Brett Brown, the team built a 19-0 lead, fell to a nine-point deficit by the end of the third quarter, and then rallied to take the lead in the final minutes.
That victory launched the surprising 3-0 start to the season for the young Sixers.
Not to take anything away from that victory, but the Heat played without point guard Dwyane Wade. They also played the night prior against the Chicago Bulls in a game that lasted more than two-and-a-half hours. The Heat didn’t use any of that as an excuse, but don’t think for a second they don’t remember what happened.
2. Bucking history
Looking back at the Sixers’ recent history against the Heat is nothing short of amazing. The opening night victory was the Sixers’ first in the regular season since 2009 after 15 straight losses. Throw in the five-game playoff series in 2010-11 and the Sixers are 2-19 against the Heat dating back to the start of the 2009-10 season.
It’s not like the Heat simply got lucky or rode a hot streak, either. They just have been that much better than the Sixers.
However, since the Heat entered the league in 1988, they have faced the Sixers exactly 100 times. The Sixers lead the all-time series, 51-49.
3. MCW vs. D-Wade
Michael Carter-Williams put together one of the great all-time NBA debuts against the Heat on Oct. 30. With 22 points, 12 assists, nine steals and seven rebounds, Carter-Williams did just about everything and then some. The double-double is the first by a Sixer in his debut since Maurice Cheeks did it in his first game in 1978. The 22 points is the most by a player making his debut since Allen Iverson scored 30 in 1996.
The 22-12-9-7 combination is one achieved only twice previously by anyone in NBA history. Quick point guard Ricky Green had a 26-12-9-7 for the Utah Jazz in 1982, and Spurs guard Johnny Moore put up a 26-13-9-11 in 1985.
Meanwhile, Carter-Williams’ nine steals tied a franchise record, and was the most steals in an NBA debut since it became an official stat in 1973.
The rookie did all of that while committing just one turnover.
He also did it with perennial All-Star Wade watching from the bench.
Yes, Carter-Williams has faced a veritable who’s who of great NBA point guards in his first season. After the game against the Heat, the rookie faced off against John Wall, Derrick Rose, Steph Curry, Wall again and then back-to-backs against Kyrie Irving.
Then came Tony Parker, Jrue Holiday and Deron Williams to end the cavalcade of All-Stars.
Still, Carter-Williams missed Wade, who is quietly averaging 19.2 points and nearly five rebounds and assists per game. This one could be the rookie’s toughest test yet.
4. Finding a spark
Sometimes it’s a little thing that gets a team going. Though the Sixers committed 24 turnovers and sent the Bobcats to the line for 26 free throws leading to 51 points Wednesday, they won the game on Thad Young’s last-second three-pointer.
To that point in the game Young had struggled on the offensive end and was the only starter not to shoot at least 50 percent from the field.
But in the end, Young saved the day with a big shot.
Lavoy Allen has missed the last three games with a strained right calf. He will be a game-time decision.
Arnett Moultrie is inching closer to a return from left ankle surgery. He will be a game-time decision.
Nerlens Noel (knee) and Jason Richardson (knee) are out.
For Miami Chris Andersen missed Wednesday night’s game in Washington with body soreness. Mario Chalmers also missed the game in Washington with Achilles tendonitis.