The Heat have definitely been sliding, as they are losers of four straight from an ATS standpoint and back to back games overall. Of course, there is no shame whatsoever in losing to the Orlando Magic and the Chicago Bulls, particularly with both games coming on the road in back to back nights, but the truth of the matter is that there definitely are issues that need to be resolved and resolved in a hurry. If you take out what the “Big Three” did for the Heat against Chicago, the other two starters only combined for four points on 1-of-5 shooting, and when you add in there the fact that Chris Bosh shot just 3-of-15 against the tough big men that the Bulls have to offer, it made for an ugly game. LeBron James and Dwyane Wade just can’t do it all, and now, it is those two that are going to be up against it versus a team that is very, very good defensively on the perimeter.
The 76ers have been playing well, but they were derailed two nights ago by the Indiana Pacers in bad form in a 111-94 setback. It was a rare bad defensive effort for a team that has absolutely been as good as anyone else on this side of the ball in the league this year. The Sixers are allowing just 87.9 points per game on the campaign and are allowing teams to shoot just 41.8 percent from the floor. Those are both remarkable stats that rank No. 1 in the league. Offensively, things aren’t great, but in the end, there are definitely some players that can get the job done. Louis Williams is a great man to bring off of the bench as a shot of energy, and Sam Young is expected to do the same when he joins the team after being acquired from the Memphis Grizzlies at the trade deadline yesterday. Though the Boston Celtics are still hot on Philly’s tail, the team is still holding firm atop the Atlantic Division and might be able to finish the job when it is all said and done.
The Final Word: The Heat are going to find out that this is a tough matchup for them as well. If the big men aren’t playing well, they are going to get frustrated and probably ultimately beaten in what could be a big time game for a team that is trying to prove that it belongs in the Eastern Conference discussion.
Miami Heat @ Philadelphia 76ers Free Pick: Philadelphia 76ers +3.5
is a staff writer living in the Orlando area. He has covered NFL, MLB, college football, CFL, AFL, NBA, college basketball, NASCAR, golf, tennis, and the NHL for a number of various outlets in his career, and he has been published by a number of different media outlets, including the Orlando Sentinel and the Wall Street Journal.