HOW BAD ARE THESE SIXERS? THEY COULDN’T BEAT THE HEAT SCRUBS!

By Jerry Wein

If you thought the Sixers don’t miss Ben Simmons — at least his defense — you should have watched last night’s loss to the COVID-ravaged Heat at the Wells!

Gabe Vincent scored 26 points and Duncan Robinson 21 points in the short-handed Heat’s 101-96 win.

Kyle Lowry added 14 points for the Heat, who had only 10 available players — seven of whom were undrafted. Miami shot 40.9% from long distance, hitting 18 3-pointers.

Joel Embiid had 17 points and 14 rebounds in his return from right rib soreness after missing Monday’s 126-91 loss at Memphis. Tyrese Maxey led the 76ers with 27 points, and Tobias Harris added 24.

Both teams — especially the Heat — were ravaged by injury, illness and protocols. Philadelphia’s Georges Niang and Miami’s Caleb Martin sat out because of the NBA’s COVID-19 health and safety protocols. Martin missed his third straight game.

None of Miami’s three leading scorers — Jimmy Butler (22.8 ppg), Tyler Herro (20.3) or Bam Adebayo (18.7) — were in the lineup.

But the lineup the Heat fielded took control in the first half. Miami led by as many as 19 points in the opening 24 minutes and held a 58-49 lead at halftime.

“We couldn’t get stops,” 76ers coach Doc Rivers said of the first half. “I thought we were bad offensively and defensively.”

Miami kept it up after the break, with Vincent’s 14-footer 5:05 into the second half pushing the Heat’s lead to 23 points at 76-53.

The 76ers, behind the strong play of Maxey, started chipping away at the lead. The Sixers finally tied it on a 3-pointer by Harris that made it 96-all with 1:24 remaining. Then, Danny Green stripped Lowry in the backcourt, but Harris was called for a charge. After Lowry misfired on a 3-point try, Vincent grabbed the long rebound and drained a 3 to put the Heat ahead 99-96 with 39.4 seconds left.

“We had the tip-out, I had a look a the rim for a brief second and I tried not to hesitate,” said Vincent, who shot 7 for 12 from long range. “I’m just trying to win a game. I knew we needed a bucket.”

After each team failed to convert, Embiid missed a 3-point try that would’ve tied it before Lowry closed it with a pair of free throws.

“It’s a resilient win,” said Robinson, who had four 3-pointers.

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