By Harry Allison
The Sixers, worst team in the NBA on the road against the reigning Eastern Conference champion Miami Heat, are down 23 points in the second half and they rally to win.
Now, open your eyes!
Michael Carter-Williams scored 20 points, Luc Mbah a Moute added 19 and the Sixers went on a furious run to turn the game around and stun the Heat 91-87 on Tuesday night — winning consecutive games for the first time this season.
“It ain’t going to get no worse than this,” Heat guard Dwyane Wade said.
Miami was up 69-46 midway through the third quarter.
The team that started the season with 17 straight losses — one of those coming by 53 points — outscored the Heat 45-18 the rest of the way.
“A very unlikely win,” 76ers coach Brett Brown said, “with incredibly unusual circumstances.”
The 76ers only had eight players available because of illness, injuries and roster moves. Carter-Williams played every minute of the second half, Mbah a Moute played 20 of those 24 minutes, and despite basically everyone logging heavy minutes Philly forced Miami into 28 percent shooting after halftime and outrebounded the Heat 25-18.
“I think we just keep fighting,” Carter-Williams said. “We’re losing — there’s not much we can do but keep plugging, trying to come back, especially when there’s time left in the game.”
K.J. McDaniels (photo above) scored 13, while Jerami Grant and Robert Covington each had 11 for Philadelphia.
Wade scored 17 of his 23 points in the first half for Miami, which was outscored 49-30 after halftime and plays host to LeBron James and Cleveland on Thursday in a Christmas Day showdown.
And this was anything but the way the Heat wanted to go into that one.
“Obviously, that’ll be a common theme that we were looking ahead, but all of a sudden do you start looking ahead halfway through the third quarter, ‘Oh, let’s start thinking about the Christmas game,'” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. “That’s not it. You have to credit their defense.”
Shawne Williams scored 17 and Mario Chalmers added 11 for the Heat, who missed four 3-pointers that would have given them the lead in the final minute.
Miami also turned the ball over 22 times, helping Philadelphia score 21 points.
Miami led by 13 after the opening quarter, by 15 at intermission and pushed the lead to 69-46 — a 23-point cushion — midway through the third quarter.
Someone forgot to tell the 76ers that the game was over.
Carter-Williams made a 3-pointer with one-tenth of a second left in the third to get Philadelphia within 78-73, and the 76ers’ run never really stopped.
“Us looking ahead? Man, we’re 13-15 coming into this game,” Wade said. “There’s nobody looking ahead.”