When you’re hunting, you set up a good bait and lure in your prey. Last night, the Miami Heat (39-14) let the hometown Philadelphia 76ers (22-31) feel like this was going to be a game. Nick Young, Evan Turner, and Jrue Holiday all looked good to start the game and the 76ers took a very early lead. While they were playing well to start, the defending champion Heat were just searching for which who was going to join LeBron James in the destruction. Dwyane Wade stepped up and took that role, helping destroy the 76ers 114-90 in Philadelphia.
Make no mistake about it, the Miami Heat are killers. They’ve set up every team, every fan, every reporter, and anyone else that’s chosen to pay attention, even in the slightest, to the NBA this year. In the beginning of the year people were enamored with what the Lakers would do with Dwight Howard, how the Brooklyn Nets would be, how the Knicks would come together, what would James Harden bring to the Rockets and how his loss would affect the Thunder. Everyone was pretty quiet about the Heat even as they stood as defending champions. Doc Rivers, head coach of the Celtics, said they were champions last year, that this was a new year. He was absolutely right.
This year the Miami Heat are different. They’re last year champions and they don’t seem to be ready to relinquish that. They look like they’re going to be the champions for a few years to come. The league rules regarding the luxury tax seem to be the only thing that can stop them. The Spurs may have the best record in the league, but make no mistake about it, the Miami Heat are the best team in the NBA and they have the best player on the planet doing whatever he wants on any given night.
Watching the beginning of last night’s game, it seemed as if James was trying to decide how he would be killing the 76ers. Would he be scoring, passing, or rebounding? Turns out, he would do all three. James finished with a triple double with 16 points, 10 rebounds, and 11 assists. He probably could have had twice as much of each one had he really been trying. In the early going he noticed that Wade, 33 points on 14-18 shooting, wasn’t missing, so he would continue to feed Wade.
It didn’t matter that Jrue Holiday wasn’t missing either, finishing with 21 points, 6 rebounds, and 6 assists on 8-11 shooting. Nick Young hit for 19 points, but wasn’t much of a factor in the 2nd half as has been the usual lately. Evan Turner started off well, but finished 8-19 for 16 points. Meanwhile Wade, James, Chris Bosh, Mario Chalmers, Ray Allen and the rest of the Heat weren’t missing much. The Heat shot 58% from the field while hitting 15 of 18 foul shots. The 76ers only attempted 10 foul shots in what seems to be their regular formula. A team of slashing guards that doesn’t slash. Between Turner, Holiday, and Young, they should be getting to the line a lot more than 10 times a game. That doesn’t happen in Doug Collins broken system.
We can talk all we want about Andrew Bynum, but when your starting center, Spencer Hawes, is shooting 18 ft jumpers while your undersized power forward, Lavoy Allen is nowhere near the basket for a rebound, then you’re not going to be very successful. Especially when the opposing team has the best player on the planet, he’s not really trying, and he’s still dominant. Collins can talk about effort, guts, courage, etc. but what it really comes down to is that the 76ers don’t have the talent to compete with other teams, let alone the best team in the league, when they’re stuck in the jump shooting system that Collins lived and is now dying by.
There was an Arnett Moultrie sighting last night, for seven minutes, and it’s still disgraceful. I’m sure that he must have done something to Collins that he can’t be in the lineup for more than that, or else Lavoy Allen has pictures of Collins in a compromising position, because there’s no reason that Moultrie should be warming a seat while Allen is on the floor for 25 minutes a game. This has been a problem for me since the beginning of the season and it will be until Collins realizes that Allen isn’t a player or the owners realize that Collins isn’t the coach for this team. The latter seams more likely to happen before the prior.
It’s not going to get any easier any time soon. The 76ers take on the New York Knicks (32-20) at 7:00 tonight in New York.Tags: Andrew Bynum, Doug Collins, Dwyane Wade, Evan Turner, Jrue Holiday, LeBron James, loss, Miami Heat, NBA, Nick Young, Philadelphia 76ers