MIAMI – By the time the ball goes up in Game 5 on Wednesday night, more than 72 hours will have passed since Philadelphia rallied in the final moments to beat Miami and save its season.
The wait seems much longer to the Heat.
"It's horrible, honestly," Heat forward LeBron James said.
Miami gets its second chance to move into the second round on Wednesday night, when it brings a 3-1 series lead over the 76ers back home. The Heat were outscored 10-0 in the final 82 seconds of Sunday afternoon's Game 4 at Philadelphia, and from that outcome came two predictable mindsets.
The 76ers say they're loose, playing with nothing to lose.
The Heat say they're focused, eager to send Philly home.
"That's they way they should play," Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. "The way we should play is with a deep sense of urgency and desperation. We had that for the most part in the first three games. We had a sensational second quarter in Game 4. ... But that wasn't enough of a burst. We weren't able to sustain it and we relaxed."
Should Miami win on Wednesday, the Heat will immediately turn attention toward the long-awaited matchup with the Boston Celtics in the East semifinals.
The Heat know the Celtics are waiting. Until win No. 4 against Philadelphia is in the books, they won't profess to care.
"We're talking about Philly right now," Heat guard Dwyane Wade said.
Some Philadelphia veterans, Elton Brand in particular, said before the series began that the Sixers' collective youth would prove beneficial at times in this series. In short, Philly's younger starters — three of the 76ers' first five had never started a playoff game before this series began — are still learning the magnitude of the playoff stage.
That's not a bad thing, Brand said. It allows them to just play, even when facing a six-point deficit near the very end of a win-or-get-swept game like the one Philadelphia faced Sunday.
"It was easy for us when we were down seven with 8 minutes to go for guys to pack it in and get ready for that vacation," Sixers guard Lou Williams said. "Instead, guys locked down on defense and made some big shots."
So instead of flying to Miami for vacation, the Sixers are returning for Game 5.
"They wanted to get down there," 76ers coach Doug Collins said. "And guys are loose. They're having fun. It's just a great time to be playing. Anytime you have the chance to play these kind of games, it helps them grow. I'm learning more about them every single day."
Collins brought his team in for a light Monday workout, before another practice Tuesday preceding the flight to Miami. The Monday session might have been one of the most lighthearted of Philadelphia's season, but Collins felt it was necessary to get his players back in the workplace — if for no other reason than to put the joy of Sunday behind them.
"I didn't want them to think that was good enough," Collins said. "I want them to want more."
The message was delivered.
"We're not happy," Williams said. "We have the opportunity to go down there, try to extend the series and make it 3-2. At the end of the day, all you can ask for."
Miami took Monday off from practice, then returned for a lengthy session Tuesday morning, replete with full contact 5-on-5 work, knee pads and mouthguards in place.
That's what worked best for the Heat all season, and Spoelstra sees no need to change the thinking now.
"We needed to work on some things and get our edge back," Spoelstra said.
Also not getting changed? Miami's lineup.
The Heat have been outscored 78-46 with their starters on the floor to open games in this series, then have outplayed the 76ers by wide margins at times after those initial stints of games.
"We can change what we need to within ourselves and do it with a better motor ... better awareness to start the game," Spoelstra said. "It's all about everybody together."
And together, Miami has grown tired of waiting around for Game 5 to arrive.
James was watching other playoff games on television Monday night, noting that most of those series only have one full day off until their next game. The Heat had two full days off — more than three in actuality — to stew over what went wrong in Philadelphia in Game 4.
"When you're a competitor and you just love the game of basketball, you love playoff basketball, you're ready to get back out there after one day off," James said. "But like D-Wade said, we got an opportunity to get some rest, go through the mistakes and some of the good things we did in Game 4. And we're looking forward to the challenge."