Monday, December 22, 2014

Sixers host Miami Heat tonight

The Miami Heat, coming off two straight losses, will look to right their ship against the Sixers tonight, a team they've beaten handily twice this season.

Sixers host Miami Heat tonight

Jrue Holiday and the Sixers host the Heat Friday night at the Wells Fargo Center. (Jim Mone/AP)
Jrue Holiday and the Sixers host the Heat Friday night at the Wells Fargo Center. (Jim Mone/AP)

The Sixers haven't had a lot of success against the Miami Heat (31-11) this season, losing both meetings by a combined 41 points. They'll be facing a Heat team that won't be in a very good mood either as they've lost their last two games. Spencer Hawes will be available again for the Sixers for the second straight game as he's returned from his strained Achilles' injury.

"They've outrebounded us by 15 a game and that's been a real concern," said coach Doug Collins. "So hopefully Spencer will help us with that. One of the problems about rebounding with Miami is that (Dwyane) Wade and LeBron (James) demand so much attention that a lot of times they'll drag another guy with them and a lot of times it's a big guy. So when they're going to the basket or they're in an isolation you're trying to help or come over then it frees up a lot of offensive rebounding for that team. They've definitely hammered us on the board."

The funny thing about that is that in their last four road games the Heat has been outrebounded by better than 13 a game.

"This is a totally different team than we played in the playoffs (last year), with (Mario) Chalmers starting and Joel Anthony starting, (Udonis) Haslem coming off the bench," said Collins. "Their speed and quickness is much better. They do a great job of trapping."

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Hawes will still be limited in his playing time as he is still only able to play in five-minute intervals. Newly acquire guard/forward Sam Young will also be limited tonight, as he drove 13 hours from Memphis to Washington, D.C. after being traded to the Sixers to the Grizzlies yesterday and got his team physical today. Collins said he will suit, but isn't sure how much he'll be able to use him.

"What's really hurt us with this group is when they put LeBron at the four (power forward)," said Collins. "Hopefully we can be a little bit better with that tonight. When they did that last time that's really when they made their push. That was a really tough matchup for us last time."

Miami has won nine-straight regular season games over the Sixers and are looking to avoid a four-game road losing streak, something that hasn't happend in nearly four years.

Bob Cooney
About this blog
Bob Cooney has been at the Daily News for more than 20 years, working in the sports department for the past 15. This is his third season on the Sixers beat. He has covered just about everything, but mostly college basketball, where he was the La Salle beat writer for six seasons. E-mail Bob at cooneyb@phillynews.com and follow him on Twitter.

Bob Cooney
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