Heat-76ers Preview

Tied for fifth in the Eastern Conference standings, the Miami

Heat have a good chance of taking sole possession of that spot

after their next game.

Continuing a stretch of nine straight contests versus sub-.500

teams to end the season, the Heat close out their road portion of

their schedule Monday night when they go for a season sweep of the

Philadelphia 76ers.

After having its nine-game winning streak snapped Friday against

Detroit, Miami (45-35) bounced back with a 111-98 victory at New

York on Sunday. Dwyane Wade scored a team-high 32 points and

decided against getting X-rays on his right wrist following a

first-half fall.

“I was the doctor on that one,” Wade said. “I decided against

it.”

Wade and the surging Heat pulled into a tie with idle Milwaukee,

which holds the tiebreaker with three wins in four matchups. The

Heat, though, face Philadelphia (27-53) and NBA-worst New Jersey to

end their regular season while the Bucks take on playoff-bound

Atlanta and Boston.

Miami snapped a six-game losing streak in Philadelphia in its

last visit there, a 105-78 victory on Feb. 16. Wade had 24 points

with six rebounds and six assists, and the Heat held the 76ers to

37.9 percent shooting in their most lopsided victory in

Philadelphia since a 28-point win on Feb. 18, 1997.

“A classic, classic butt-kicking,” said 76ers coach Eddie

Jordan.

Miami returns to Philadelphia looking to extend its road winning

streak to eight. The Heat last accomplished that Dec. 6, 2004-Jan.

7, 2005.

Miami also gets a chance to equal that mark against a 76ers team

coming off one of its most impressive victories of the season,

120-101 at Memphis on Saturday. Philadelphia had lost its previous

six games by an average of 12.0 points.

The 76ers matched a franchise high with 14 3-pointers. Jason

Kapono hit five from long distance and rookie Jodie Meeks was 4 of

7 from 3-point range.

“Any time a shooter gets a couple of shots to go down, it seems

like he can’t miss,” said Meeks, a former Kentucky star. “If you

knock a couple down, you want the ball again.”

If the 76ers are going to win two straight for the first time

since March 24-26, they’ll likely have to shoot better than the

41.5 percent they’ve made in three previous losses to Miami.

Wade hasn’t had many problems shooting against the 76ers,

hitting 50.8 percent and averaging 28.0 points in the three wins.

He needed just 29 minutes to score 24 points in the Feb. 16

victory.

Playing their final game at Wachovia Center this season, the

76ers are 12-28 there and will finish with their worst home record

since going 11-30 in 1996-97.

Miami will try to sweep Philadelphia for the first time since

2005-06.