Last summer, the Miami Heat became an assumed three man wrecking crew. Though, on an early spring night, the Philadelphia 76ers nearly tore down what Pat Riley had built.
Though, there was one problem: Dwyane Wade.
Despite the spectacle that it is the big three, there was proof, at least for one night, that it still was all about Dwyane Wayne in Miami.
Still, the Heat’s Friday night 111-99 victory had the big three’s imprint stamped all over it. Wade, Lebron James, and (the at times forgotten) Chris Bosh all had double-doubles. More impressively, they all scored at least 20, as the Heat received virtually no effort from their bench.
As usual, the Sixers’ bench was the backbone of the team. Lou Williams dropped 24 in 24 minutes of play. Thaddeus Young was big as well, giving the underdogs a big lift with 15 points. At halftime, the Sixers had outscored the Heat 21-0 in bench points.
The Heat had an antidote though, and his name was Dwyane Wade.
Every time the Sixers seemed to pull away, Wade was there to restore what should have always been. Wade scored 19 points in the second quarter alone, to help extinguish a 42-26 lead. With Wade’s surge, the Heat took a 1 point lead into the locker room
Of course the 2010-2011 version of the Philadelphia 76ers wouldn’t back down as in years passed. They battled and fought to build a 90-83 lead in the 4th quarter.
One problem: Dwyane Wade.
Once again, Wade stepped all over the Sixers hard fought lead with by leading the Heat on a 23-2 fourth quarter run. His 39 points proved to be crucial, because he scored when his team needed him the most. His points propelled the Heat to a victory against a very formidable Sixers’ squad in a possible playoff preview.
True, Lebron James added 32 points of his own, but it almost seemed insignificant in the sight of Wade’s effort. Although, James’s steal and slam in the 4th seemed to put the nail in the Sixers’ coffin.
Indeed, the big three carried the Heat to victory, but their teammates once again proved to be spectators, which can breed trouble for them if they do face the upstart Sixers in the first round.
The Sixers’ rotation keeps them fresh and firing all game long, and in a 7 game series, the big three could be pushed to the physical brink, if they do not begin to get support from the audience called their bench.
So, the question must be asked. Despite Friday night’s results, do the Sixers have a legit chance to knock off the evil empire that is the Miami Heat in a first-round playoff?
Does Warriors – Mavericks circa 2007 ring a bell?