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Heat prep for playoffs with Philly in town
(SportsNetwork.com) - The two-time defending champion Miami Heat are locked into the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference and will prep for the playoffs with Wednesday's matchup versus the Philadelphia 76ers.
Miami isn't playing its best basketball of late and lost out on a chance for conference supremacy to the Indiana Pacers following Monday's 114-93 loss against the Washington Wizards. Miami, which began the day still in contention for the top spot, opted to rest starters LeBron James and Chris Bosh.
Michael Beasley paced the Heat with 18 points off the bench, Toney Douglas scored 14 and Ray Allen netted 13 in a reserve role. Dwyane Wade, who needed some minutes before possibly a long postseason run, ended with nine points and three assists. It was Wade's second game since returning from a nine-game absence caused by an injured hamstring.
"Not too many takeaways we can take from tonight other than the fact that we got Dwyane out there, got him some game time, some game conditioning but even that wasn't a whole lot," said Miami coach Erik Spoelstra.
The Wizards made 59 percent of their shots and sank 14-of-29 3-pointers. They were led by Trevor Ariza's 25 points and Nene netted 18. Washington had a 70-48 lead by halftime and shot 70.3 percent in the first half.
Either Washington or the Charlotte Bobcats will face Miami in the first round.
Miami has lost two in a row and five of seven games and owns a 32-8 record at AmericanAirlines Arena this season. The Heat have won seven of their last nine games in South Beach.
The re-building 76ers are headed to the NBA lottery and hope to close the season with back-to-back wins.
Philadelphia hasn't prevailed in two straight games since a four-game winning streak from Dec. 29-Jan. 4 and halted a four-game slide with Monday's 113-108 home victory over the Boston Celtics. Even though Kelly Olynyk (28), Jeff Green (27) and Avery Bradley (23) all scored more than 20 points, the Sixers used a more balanced attack.
Rookie of the Year candidate Michael Carter-Williams finished just shy of a triple-double with 21 points, 14 rebounds, six assists and four steals to lead the Sixers, who shot 54 percent and received 20 points from Tony Wroten off the bench. Thaddeus Young and Henry Sims scored 15 and 13 points, respectively, in the win.
"We executed down the stretch. We made some big plays and we got some big stops," said Carter-Williams, who is averaging 18.4 points, 7.8 rebounds and 6.7 assists in the last nine games.
The 76ers are 2-6 since halting a 26-game losing streak versus Detroit on March 29 and will put their 8-32 road mark to the test. They are winless in the last three games away from Wells Fargo Center.
With another loss the Sixers can match the 1995-96 squad (18-64).
Philadelphia opened the Brett Brown era with three straight wins, including a 114-110 victory over Miami on Oct. 30. The Heat evened the score with a 101-86 triumph on Jan. 17 to improve to 17-2 in the past 19 games in this series.
Both games were played in the City of Brotherly Love.
The Sixers have lost 10 straight and 16 of the last 18 trips to South Beach.
04/16 09:56:16 ET
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