Heat Check: Season wraps up with road win over 76ers
The Miami Heat wrapped up their final game of the season with a 105-101 victory over the Philadelphia 76ers on Wednesday.
With the Indiana Pacers defeating the Washington Wizards on Wednesday, the Heat had been knocked out of playoff contention and rested their starters as a result. Subsequently, they fielded their 31st starting lineup of the season to break a franchise record. Head coach Erik Spoelstra briefly used Udonis Haslem as the only reserve off the bench for the entire game.
Despite the new-look rotation, the Heat displayed crisp ball movement and excellent long-range shooting to take control of the game early. Philadelphia bounced back with 10 consecutive points to briefly take a two-point lead, but Miami dominated the rest of the second quarter with a 33-15 run to lead by as many as 20. Four Heat players reached double figures by halftime, including Michael Beasley with 16, Henry Walker with 15, and first-time starter Zoran Dragic contributing 13 points including a career-high 10 points in the first quarter.
Miami couldn't miss from outside in the first half, and it resulted in 64 points, their largest-scoring half of the season. Miami shot 10 of 16 from 3-point range in the first half but struggled in second half, going 2 of 15.
Even against a lowly opponent with one of the worst records in the league, the Heat experienced another flat third quarter that allowed the 76ers to get back in the game. The 76ers scored 10 straight points to open the second half to cut it to 64-56 and then outscored the Heat 25-11 for the third quarter.
The fourth quarter featured several lead changes during which the Heat fought back multiple Sixers runs to pull through and finish the season on a high note.
With the victory, the Heat finished with the 10th worst record in the league. They will hold on to the selection unless a team jumps them in the lottery and it falls out of the top 10, in which case it will be sent to the 76ers as part of a previous trade.
THE TURNING POINT
With the game tied 94 and less then three minutes remaining, Beasley scored six straight points to give the Heat their final lead of the game.
THE DIFFERENCE MAKER
Beasley had his best game of the season with 34 points, 11 rebounds and eight assists playing all 48 minutes.
STAT OF THE GAME
Haslem's seven minutes of action resulted in the lowest total bench minutes for an NBA team in a game since at least the 1985-86 season, according to Sun Sports. It was the first time in franchise history the Heat played just six men.
The NBA draft lottery on May 19.