Despite what members of the team have said, the Miami Heat did not envision themselves being a pedestrian 8-7 after 15 games.
A game against the lowly Philadelphia 76ers should change their luck.
After bringing in Lebron James and Chris Bosh this off season to join resident star Dwyane Wade, expectations were high in South Beach. At their introduction, the trio predicted multiple championships, and to quote Lebron James, "not 5, not 6", suggesting more. At the rate the Heat are going right now, they'd be very hard pressed to win a single title.
The Heat are in the midst of a 3 game losing streak. The poor results correlate with the extremely poor play of Dwyane Wade. The Heat star is averaging 10.1 points on a miserable 23.4 percent field goal shooting during the losing streak. To make matters worse, he is shooting just 1-19 from 3-point range over his last 7 games. For those of you scoring at home, that is 5.3 percent. Wade is playing through several nagging injuries, and it is evident by watching him play.
Despite the struggles of Wade and the Heat as a whole, Miami has to be encouraged by the recent play of Chris Bosh. The former Toronto Raptors star began the season with routinely pedestrian numbers, but has turned it on of late. In his last 5 games, Bosh is averaging 23.8 points and 9.4 rebounds per contest while shooting 56.9 percent from the floor.
Miami has particularly struggled against teams with a winning record, going 1-6 in 7 games. Luckily for them, the Philadelphia 76ers do not come close to meeting that criteria.
The 76ers come into Friday's game ice cold, with a 3-12 mark on the season. Philadelphia has lost 7 of their past 8 games, and is 1-8 overall on the road. They rank last in the Eastern Conference and have the 2nd worst record in the NBA, with only the Los Angeles Clippers having a worse mark.
Though they have been no world beaters on the defensive end, the 76ers' main issue is their inability to produce offensively. Their 98.1 points per game ranks 19th in the NBA. Similar to last year, Philadelphia also finds themselves unable to shoot the ball with any sort of consistency from 3-point range. They rank 25th in the NBA in 3-pointers made and 29th in 3-pointers attempted.
Though the 76ers were expected to be buoyed by young players like Jrue Holiday and Evan Turner, the play of their veterans has been particularly poor. Andre Iguodala is averaging only 14.2 points per contest and shooting a career-worst 66.0 percent from the free throw line. Lou Williams, expected to take on a bigger role this year, is averaging 10.0 points per game on 34 percent shooting from the field.
Miami has won the last 5 meetings between these two teams. Philadelphia has not won in Miami since February 23, 2008 when they eeked out a 101-96 overtime win.
The game will start at 7:30 PM Eastern Time from Miami, Florida.