The Sixers cut Miamis lead to four points twice in the final two minutes in front of a sellout crowd that was on its feet. It was miraculous that the Sixers were even able to accomplish that after trailing 57-30 at the half.
Despite holding Miami to just 27 second-half points, the Sixers lost 84-78 to the Heat for their second straight defeat.
Miami most definitely came into the Wells Fargo Center feeling on edge, having dropped their last two road games to find themselves 3.5 games back of Chicago for the top seed in the Eastern Conference.
They proceeded to channel all their energy and focus on annihilating the Sixers for the first two quarters.
After being down by as many as 29 early in the third quarter, the Sixers made a run and cut it to 13 en route to winning their first quarter against Miami in 11 tries this season by outscoring the Heat, 26-12.
Lou Williams, who is the Sixers best free throw shooter at 82 percent, attempted a three-pointer with 0.2 seconds remaining in the third quarter and was fouled in the process by Norris Cole. Unfortunately, he made only one of the three to leave the Sixers down 69-56.
The show would only get better in the fourth quarter when the Sixers again outscored the Heat, 22-15, before ultimately falling short.
The Sixers had been outrebounded by an average of 15 boards per game in the first two contests against the Heat. In this game they won the backboard battle, 54-42.
Turning pointAfter falling behind 25-9 in the first quarter, the Sixers closed the deficit to 10 points four times in the second quarter but they could never get it to single digits. Instead the Heat closed out the first half on a 19-2 run to be up 57-30 at intermission.
A 27-point cushion to a team that has three All-Stars, averages the second most points and shoots the highest field goal percentage in the league is gift that will not be given back, though the Sixers tried mightily to steal it.
Follow the leaderLeBron James was 8 of 11 from the floor in the first half for 18 points. In comparison, the Sixers starting five were a combined 7 for 28 for 19 points.
James finished with a game-high 29 points. Dwyane Wade added 12 points, while Chris Bosh scored 10.
The Sixers were led in scoring by Evan Turner, who had 13 points to go with his eight rebounds and five assists. Andre Iguodala had a double-double with 11 points and 10 rebounds.
Stat-egicThe Sixers shot just 11 of 44 as a team in the first half. It was their fewest field goals made in any first half this year, as well as the lowest field goal percentage. Couple those numbers with the fact that the 57 points they allowed was the most in a first half all season.
In the second half, it was the Sixers defense that stifled the Heat. They held Miami to 12-for-32 shooting for .375 percent.
Take a bowThe Sixers cut the Miami lead to 10 with 8:13 to play on a tipped offensive rebound by Elton Brand that landed in Jodie Meeks hands behind the arc. He dropped in the three ball.
After getting a defensive stop, Meeks scored a layup in transition at the 7:15 mark and then two possessions after that, Turner made a corner three to cut the Miami lead to 73-68 with 6:27 to play.
Whats next?The Sixers will play Saturday night in Chicago. Like the Sixers, the Bulls played Friday night, only they wont have to travel because they hosted the struggling Portland Trail Blazers.
Heading into Fridays game, the Bulls had won three straight games and nine of their last 10. They boasted a home record of 18-3.
The two teams have split the first two games of this three-game season series. The Sixers won the first matchup by 16 points, but the Bulls had no Luol Deng. In the second contest, the Sixers could not contain Derrick Rose, who went for 35 points in a 96-91 Bulls victory.
E-mail Dei Lynam at firstname.lastname@example.org.