MIAMI — The Sixers’ challenging stretch of Eastern Conference playoff foes continued Tuesday in Miami with a 102-101 loss to the Heat.
The Sixers dropped to 32-27 while the Heat improved to 32-29, closing the gap to one game between the seventh and eighth seed. This contest was significant for locking in the season series if playoff rankings come down to a tiebreaker. The Sixers are 2-1 against the Heat with another matchup in Miami next week.
The Sixers led by 13 points in the second quarter before the Heat erased that advantage with a 15-0 run. That spurt set the tone for a game that would not be decided until the final seconds.
Dario Saric fouled Dwyane Wade shooting a three with 27 seconds to play. Wade made all three free throws to tie the game, 100-100. The Heat intentionally sent Ben Simmons to the line on the next possession. He made one of two.
Wade pulled up for a 21-foot jumper to give the Heat the deciding lead with 5.9 seconds remaining. The Sixers got JJ Redick a wide-open three-point look for the last shot, but it didn’t fall. Redick shot 2 for 8 from three in the game.
Wade put the Heat in front and the Sixers were this close to sinking the winner at the buzzer. pic.twitter.com/Yc3yXMwyIg— NBC Sports Philadelphia (@NBCSPhilly) February 28, 2018
• Thirty-six-year-old Wade turned back the clock with 15 points in the fourth quarter en route to 27 on the night.
• Joel Embiid played with foul trouble, picking up his fifth early in the fourth quarter. He finished with 23 points, eight rebounds and four assists.
• The Sixers surrendered 26 points off 23 turnovers. Embiid (five), Redick (five) and Simmons (four) combined for more than half of those.
• Brown returned to the pairing of Embiid and Richaun Holmes, sliding Holmes to power forward. Holmes (six points, seven rebounds) also got fourth-quarter minutes at center when Embiid was sidelined by fouls.
• Trevor Booker was available but did not play. He is the likely roster subtraction if the Sixers re-sign Ersan Ilyasova, who was bought out by the Hawks. Booker is in the final year of his contract, worth $9.1 million this season.
• The Sixers are winless in their last six games in Miami. Their last victory was Nov. 13, 2015.
• Heat coach Erik Spoelstra expected this to be a highly-contested matchup based on the previous meetings.
“Those have been harrowing games,” Spoelstra said pregame. “If you’re watching at some point either way, in either game you may have turned it off thinking it was a blowout. Both games ended up being tight down the stretch. You have two very competitive, probably relatively even-matched teams.”
• Sixers fans broke into “E-A-G-L-E-S” chants inside AmericanAirlines Arena.
• Up next: The Sixers, with well-publicized billboards in the area, travel to Cleveland to face the 36-24 Cavaliers.