The odds of the Miami Heat extending their home winning streak to 16 games are in their favor with the Philadelphia 76ers set to invade South Beach tonight.
Miami has ripped off 15 straight wins at AmericanAirlines Arena and is an NBA- best 21-2 as the host this season. It has won seven in a row against Philadelphia and 10 straight in this series, including the first three meetings of the 2011-12 season. Miami is aiming to sweep the Sixers in the regular season for a third straight year.
The Heat, who haven't lost at home since Jan. 22 versus Milwaukee, will begin a five-game residency this evening with the Sixers, Thunder, Grizzlies, Pistons and Celtics, and were given a taste of reality Sunday at Boston in a lopsided 91-72 setback. Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo was a thorn in Miami's side with his NBA-leading fifth triple-double of the season, posting 16 points, 14 assists and 11 rebounds.
LeBron James netted 23 points, while Dwyane Wade provided 15 points and eight rebounds for Miami, which had won two straight and six of eight.
"This game was unacceptable," Miami head coach Erik Spoelstra said. "We will fix it together, collectively. We're not happy about it, we have not been able to come up with an answer on the road, particularly in the third quarter. We fell prey to that again tonight. We will figure it out, somehow, somehow, this group together; us in that locker room, we will figure it out."
Chris Bosh was held to four points and grabbed 11 boards in defeat. The Southeast Division-leading Heat shot 34.8 percent for the game and are second in the Eastern Conference -- three games behind Chicago. Heat guard Mario Chalmers is just one assist short of 1,000 in his career and forward Udonis Haslem needs one defensive rebound to tie Alonzo Mourning (3,302) as Miami's all-time leader.
Miami's longest home winning streak is 18 set from Jan. 23-April 5, 2005.
Meanwhile, the 76ers will play four of their next six games on the road and are 10-13 as the visitor this season. They have alternated wins and losses over the past eight games and recorded a 95-90 win over Atlanta the last time out on Saturday from Wells Fargo Center.
Elton Brand scored 13 of his season-high 25 points in the fourth quarter and also grabbed 10 rebounds, dished out five assists and blocked three shots. Andre Iguodala added 18 points, eight rebounds and four assists for the Sixers, who are one game behind Boston for the Atlantic Division lead and seeded seventh in the conference -- one game behind the Hawks.
"Defensively we stepped it up. We got off to a slow start against a pretty good team but once we got it together, we ran our sets better, cut harder and got some good looks," said Brand.
Philadelphia will return home after tonight to host both Toronto and Orlando before hitting the road for three games against the Celtics, Nets and Raptors. Doug Collins' squad is 9-14 since opening the shortened season with a 20-9 mark, and has dropped four of five road games. The Sixers started the season 7-4 on the road but have gone 3-9 since.