Heat-76ers Preview

Chris Bosh can’t wait to see Philadelphia at its best.

No, not the 76ers.

Miami already survived the Sixers’ top effort in Game 1 and held

on for the victory.

Bosh wants to absorb the atmosphere at a hostile court like in

Philly – from the rowdy fans in the rare full house dressed in

matching T-shirts, to the pyrotechnics, and a new pregame video

that incorporates live performance elements.

”I’m sure they’ll be ready. They have a reputation, so I expect

them to really own up to it,” Bosh said. ”We’ve prepared

ourselves. We just have to go in there with thick skin like we

always have and let the opposing boos really, really motivate


Oh, boy. Just what the Heat need is more motivation.

The Heat beat the 76ers in a close Game 1 and destroyed them in

Game 2.

LeBron James is healthy. So is Bosh. Dwyane Wade says he’s

”good to go” after dealing with migraine symptoms.

So unless the trio all come down with some sort of mystery

ailment that puts them on the bench for Thursday’s Game 3, the

Sixers are still in serious trouble. Home court or not.

”We’ve bounced back, we’ve shown resiliency,” Sixers coach

Doug Collins said. ”I think for our guys, if they could just come

out and see the ball in the basket, it would be such a lift for


The Sixers are viewed as little more than a speed bump on

Miami’s way to the Eastern Conference semifinals.

The Heat have said all the right things. The playoffs don’t

start until a team wins on the road. The Philly fans are some of

the toughest around. No game is harder to win than Game 3.

Give the Heat credit, they believe in good sportsmanship.

The Heat are likely among the few people not wearing a

Philadelphia 76ers uniform who won’t concede that this 2-0 lead in

the Eastern Conference playoff series is Miami’s to lose.

Collins said his team remains upbeat. But unless they can find a

way to shut down James, Wade, and Bosh at the same time, the odds

of winning a game remain uphill.

”In Game 3, I think their will is at stake here,” Bosh said.

”They’re going to come out fighting, they’re going to come out

really swinging, especially with that home energy behind them.

The Sixers won 26 home games this year – one less than their

overall total from a year ago. The Heat haven’t flinched as the

NBA’s top touring act. They led the East and tied for the NBA lead

with 28 road victories.

Talent always finds a way to win out over location.

Win Games 3 and 4 in Philly and the series is over.

The Sixers have adopted ”showyaluv” as their season slogan.

The Heat are ready to ”showdabroom.”

”If I came up here and said, ‘We’re trying to win one,’ then

people would look at us crazy,” James said. ”We’re trying to win

both, but Game 3 is the most important one.”

The Sixers had a surprise guest at Thursday’s practice: Chairman

Ed Snider, who founded the Flyers, arrived to applause in his team

sweats. He watched practice and chatted with Collins before leaving

for a scheduled 4 p.m. flight to watch the Flyers play Game 4 of

their playoff series in Buffalo.

”We’ve got a really good organization now, the best we’ve had

in 15 years,” Snider said.

That starts at the top with team president Rod Thorn, general

manager Ed Stefanski, and Collins. Collins, who refused to take

credit for the Sixers turnaround, thrust himself into contention

for coach of the year honors.

He took a Sixers roster that made only minor changes from last

year’s 27-win roster and turned them into a 41-win playoff


The Sixers, though, have a roster full of really nice players.

Most teams would love to have Lou Wiliams, Thaddeus Young and Andre

Iguodala. They’re just not the type of franchise players a team can

build a title contender around.

In other words, they’re not The Big 3.

If the Sixers are going to contend against Miami, Boston and

Orlando, they’ll have to find that LeBron-esque superstar.

”We’ve gone to 41. Now 41 to 50 is another jump,” Collins

said. ”To go plus-14 is big. To go plus-nine is huge. You can’t do

that by contracting. You’ve got to do that by adding. Sometimes you

can add by subtracting. But eventually you’ve got to add by adding.

We’re at a point now where we’ve got add by adding.”

But that time is not now.

”We can’t push fast forward,” Collins said. ”It doesn’t work

that way.”

The Sixers did not boast of ”you’ve got to believe” comebacks

or sell a fanbase on ”anything can happen.” They respect the Heat

too much and know – as Collins said after Game 2 – the Heat are the

better team.

They’d like to simply start small with one win at home.


AP Sports Writer Tim Reynolds in Miami contributed to this