The Miami Heat had lost three consecutive games coming into Friday night’s game against the Philadelphia 76ers, with the low-point of their losing streak coming on Wednesday when they were absolutely throttled by the Washington Wizards. Against the Sixers, the defending back-to-back NBA champs were looking to respond with positive results.
Miami was able to come out and squash the Sixers with their defense, forcing Philadelphia to shoot just 36.9 percent from the field as a team and hit just two of their 20 attempts from long-range. Moreover, LeBron James and Chris Bosh both had big nights as the reigning MVP almost notched a triple-double while Bosh added 25 points, six rebounds, four assists and five blocks.
Despite the 101-86 victory to help get things back on track, though, the Heat did have a bit of disappointment in the fact that Greg Oden didn’t make it into the action on Friday night after he played eight minutes against the Wizards, the first time he’s played in a regular season game since 2009.
By all indications, Oden’s knee is fine after playing on Wednesday and him sitting out on Friday was more or less a precautionary measure just to ease him back into NBA action instead of throwing him in the deep end right away.
As for the Heat as a whole, their defense continues to be the most underrated and effective weapon in their arsenal. Obviously having the best player in the world in LeBron doesn’t hurt their chances in any game and having Bosh play like he did on Friday is huge, but their defense can be one of the best units in the league at times.
Not only can the Heat’s defense limit the effectiveness of their opponent’s offense, but they can also force turnovers that lead to transition opportunities, an area where Miami is absolutely lethal. In their three losses leading into Friday, the Heat had allowed over 100 points in every game. On Friday, they allowed just 86. Though it may be obvious at this point, the Heat playing stifling defense and having success from it is no coincidence.