MIAMI The result has too often been the same not just this year, but last year and the year before that. The Miami Heat end up a winner over the Sixers. It has been that way 11 consecutive regular season games and four out of five games last spring in the postseason.The Sixers were right there Tuesday night, within three points with just under three minutes to go. While no two games have been played the same over this three-year stretch, the ending seems to always involve the work of LeBron James.With Dwyane Wade sidelined because of a bruised knee, James scored 18 points in the first half and eight in the third quarter. He finished with a 15-point fourth quarter when his team totaled 23, the same number of points the Sixers scored in the final 12 minutes as well.Miami prevailed 99-93 to sweep the four-game season series (see Lynam's Instant Replay).I think LeBron did a good job of starting to be aggressive, Lou Williams said, having scored seven of his 18 points in the final quarter. He was trying to make his stamp on the game. I think they have had some success in doing that. We got right there, tying the game or cutting it to two or three but we just couldnt get over that hump. But I think LeBron did a good job establishing the pace for his guys.We will never know if Andre Iguodalas defense could have slowed James down in the fourth because the Sixers All-Star forward didnt play in the final period. Iguodala left the game at the 4:42 mark of the third quarter after Mario Chalmers poked him in the left eye and did not return. He had 11 points and five rebounds before the injury.
Iguodala wore a patch over his left eye after the game and, according to Doug Collins, was experiencing blurriness.Obviously, we had fought back and cut it to four, Collins said. I really thought the turning point was when they hit us with a 13-1 run to start the third quarter. It did limit me at the end of the game, not being able to have Dre out there to guard LeBron. That was a huge factor for us and I think a few guys got a little tired because I had to play them some heavy minutes.Evan Turner logged the most minutes of any Sixers with 39:30 and he made the most of them. Turner had a team-high 26 points on 12-of-19 shooting and he grabbed a team-high eight rebounds.Evan did a good job, Collins said. We are trying to develop somebody who can get us a bucket and Evan showed some signs of that tonight of being able to do that, which was encouraging. He has played well against Miami. He competes, he plays well and its tough to match up against LeBron, but I like the way Evan has played.Tonight, he had bounce in his step and I thought he had a really good game.
I think I just attack more and some days the shot goes in and they do some stuff that caters to how I play, Turner said. They give me the mid-range jumper, baseline stuff and coach gave me a couple plays to iso and it got me going, and that was pretty much it.
Turner has found plenty of offense recently for the Sixers. Over his last five games he is shooting 53 percent from the floor and averaging 14.4 points.
I am taking shots when I can, Turner said. Everything changes when the shot is going down. You just try to find a rhythm in the pace of the game.
Tuesdays game could be a prelude to a second straight postseason matchup of the two teams, though the Sixers only sit 1 games out of first in the Atlantic Division and are not giving up on moving ahead in the standings.
We would like to still win the division, Williams said. We are still locked in on trying to get to that four spot.
The Sixers wont have to wait long for a chance to improve their place in the standings as they host the Toronto Raptors on Wednesday night.
NotesThe Sixers committed 17 turnovers in the game. Jrue Holiday had six. Miami scored 16 points off the Sixers errors. The Heat shot 15 more free throws than the Sixers. Miami was 26 of 32 from the charity stripe, while the Sixers were 14 of 17. Chris Bosh scored 17 points, but the Sixers had far greater success slowing him down than in the previous three meetings.
E-mail Dei Lynam at email@example.com.