Regular Season Series (Game 3 of 4)

Series starts 11/5

Game 1: Wednesday, November 5th
Game 2: Saturday, February 7th
Game 3: Saturday, February 21st
Game 4: Sunday, March 15th

76ers 91

(27-27, 10-15 away)

Heat 97

(29-25, 18-10 home)

    Coverage: WPSG

    3:30 PM ET, February 21, 2009

    AmericanAirlines Arena, Miami, FL

    1 2 3 4 T
    PHI 16 24 23 2891
    MIA 20 20 27 3097

    Top Performers

    Phi: A. Miller 30 Pts, 9 Reb, 2 Ast

    Mia: D. Wade 25 Pts, 4 Reb, 9 Ast, 2 Stl, 3 Blk

    Wade, O'Neal lead way as Heat make move toward No. 4 seed in playoffs

    Associated Press

    MIAMI -- Jermaine O'Neal and Jamario Moon seem like they'll enjoy this Miami Heat playoff chase.

    Dwyane Wade had 25 points and nine assists, O'Neal and Moon combined to score 10 fourth-quarter points in their second game since arriving from Toronto, and the Heat improved their Eastern Conference postseason positioning by beating the Philadelphia 76ers 97-91 on Saturday.

    Fast Facts

    • Miami's win was the 800th in franchise history.

    • Jermaine O'Neal added 17 points and 10 rebounds in his second game with the Heat.

    • The Sixers fell to 1-2 this season against the Heat after going 6-1 against Miami in the previous two seasons.

    • Andre Miller had 30 points and nine rebounds while playing in his 502nd consecutive game, the longest active streak in the NBA.

    -- ESPN research

    Miami was down by three with 2:52 remaining, then went on an 8-0 run when the game mattered most.

    "Probably the most important game of the season so far," said Heat forward Udonis Haslem, who finished with 13 points and 10 rebounds, including a key jumper with 1:33 remaining. "We felt like this was a must-win situation for us."

    O'Neal had 17 points and 10 rebounds and Moon scored 12 for Miami. They were in perfect tune with Wade in the final minutes, with Moon getting free to score off a pair of baseline lobs and O'Neal scoring twice in a span of four possessions midway through the fourth quarter to take some pressure off the NBA's second-leading scorer.

    "I felt so much more comfortable tonight than I felt the previous night," O'Neal said. "I've been working hard and we feel like we have a chance to keep building from here."

    Moon airballed his first shot, saying he was too excited. By the end, he and Wade seemed like they were playing together forever, subtle nods of the head from one telling the other where they were heading.

    "More to come," Moon said.

    Andre Miller had 30 points -- the most by a 76ers player since late last season -- and nine rebounds, and Louis Williams scored 22 off the bench for Philadelphia, which is on its first three-game slide since December.

    Andre Iguodala scored 14 and Marreese Speights added 12 for Philadelphia, which was the lone NBA team not to have a 30-point individual scorer this season.

    But Miller took care of that, going 11-for-21 from the field and 8-for-8 from the line. Despite a strained right calf, Miller started to extend the NBA's longest current streak of games played to 502. He's missed only three games in his 10-year career, the last coming Jan. 24, 2003.

    "For a guy who was questionable coming in tonight, he was fantastic," 76ers coach Tony DiLeo said.

    Miami trailed 87-84 after Miller hit a pair of free throws, but rallied with eight straight points and never trailed again.

    Still, there was plenty of late drama.

    Miller's layup with 22.9 seconds remaining drew Philadelphia to 92-91, but with the 76ers down by three, Williams airballed a 3-pointer with 15 seconds left. Wade followed with two free throws, and the Heat prevailed.

    "It came down to the end," Miller said. "They just made the plays down the stretch to finish off the game."

    Miami not only gained a bit of separation from Detroit and Philadelphia, but closed within 2½ games of Atlanta for the coveted No. 4 spot in the muddled Eastern Conference.

    "Guys realized it," Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. "What we like about it is it's typical Eastern Conference basketball ... and our guys are starting to thrive in these type of games."

    The teams were tied at 40 at halftime, which would suggest a nip-and-tuck opening two quarters.

    Not exactly.

    Miami raced to a 20-10 lead, then shot 1-for-10 as Philadelphia had a 17-2 run that Miller kickstarted with three quick baskets.

    The Heat even going zone during that drought, with no success. On its first two trips against the 2-3, Philadelphia -- the league's worst 3-point team -- was 2-for-2 from beyond the arc, and the teams eventually headed to the break knotted for the second straight meeting.

    It stayed close through the third, with Chris Quinn's layup giving Miami a 67-63 edge going into the fourth.

    "A lot of games are going to come down just like this one ... and these are the games we're going to have to win," Wade said. "These are the games that make you feel good when you pull them out."

    Game notes

    A moment of silence was held for Utah Jazz owner Larry Miller, who died Friday. ... Philadelphia, which had a season-high 26 turnovers in its first trip to Miami this season, had only seven on Saturday. ... Saxophonist Clarence Clemons sat courtside. ... Wade's first basket -- a two-handed slam -- gave him 501 points against Philadelphia, his most against any team. ... Miami Dolphins' mascot T.D. made his annual appearance, and unlike last year (when the Dolphins were 1-15), he wasn't booed. ... It was the 800th win in Heat history.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 91 97
    FGM-FGA 33-89 (.371) 38-74 (.514)
    3PM-3PA 4-18 (.222) 4-18 (.222)
    FTM-FTA 21-25 (.840) 17-23 (.739)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 15-42 8-38
    Assists 13 19
    Turnovers 7 13
    Steals 4 3
    Blocks 2 7
    Fast Break Points 8 4
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 23 (0/0) 22 (0/0)
    Largest Lead 6 10

    Top Performers

    Andre Miller Miller
    Points: 30
    Reb: 9
    Ast: 2
    Stl: 0
    Blk: 0
    Dwyane Wade Wade
    Points: 25
    Reb: 4
    Ast: 9
    Stl: 2
    Blk: 3