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Weirdly enough, the Miami Heat only play like a bag of shit on the road, because they remain as dominant as ever at home. LeBron James dropped a season-high 41 points -- 15 in the fourth quarter -- as the Heat took down the Philadelphia 76ers 99-93 last night, winning their 16th straight home game and earning themselves a playoff spot.
And all this without Dwyane Wade, who sat out the game with a bruised left knee.
With opposing teams treating Joel Anthony like the fat kid on the playground, Erik Spoelstra shook things up and started Ronny Turiaf at center over Anthony. And the plan seemed to work. Turiaf and LeBron were able to execute some nifty pick and rolls against Philadelphia. Turiaf also scored six points and was aggressive on both ends of the floor. He still shoots free throws like he's tossing baby turtles into the air, but Turiaf made a strong case for keeping the starting job over Anthony until he eventually starts to blow ass and Spoelstra has to change shit around again. Until then, however, Turiaf looks like the starting center for your Miami Heat.
Chris Bosh finished the night with 17 points on 6-for-12 shooting, but continues to play small even though he's a very tall half-man, half-raptor person. Even with Wade out, Bosh seemed listless and tentative at times, especially when crashing the boards. Bosh was able to finagle only five rebounds on the night, and continues to treat the power forward position like it's a line at a Wal-Mart checkout.
However, Mario Chalmers was able to overcome some of his usual Chalmerness, and scored 19 points and 4 assists. And, with Wade out of the game, someone needed to step up and help LeBron carry the load. Chalmers inexplicably was that someone. And while he continues to treat the basketball like it's a bomb with a lit fuse, he's still a better option at the point than the amorphous blob of suck that Norris Cole has morphed into.
The 76ers came out with guns blazing, with Evan Turner scoring 26 and Lou Williams 18. Andre Iguodala scored 11 for Philly, including a couple of monster dunks, and seemed to give LeBron issues defensively until Mario Chalmers plunged a finger into Andre's eye and that was it for him for the rest of the game.
With Iguodala out with a jacked-up eyeball, LeBron took full advantage and started doing that thing where he smashes opponents in the face with his awesome and single-handedly brought the win home for Miami in the fourth quarter.
With just under two minutes left in the game, and the Heat nursing a five-point lead, LeBron missed a fadeaway jumper, but Shane Battier dove for the rebound like he was falling on a grenade and was able to snatch the ball out of the air. Battier then passed the ball to Chalmers, who then alley-ooped it to James, who then proceeded to smash the shit out of it, sealing the win for the Heat and allowing everyone to calm the fuck down for at least one night.
LeBron James scored the final 14 points for the Heat. BUT HE'S NOT CLUTCH!
The Heat host the big rematch against the mighty Oklahoma City Thunder tonight. Shit goes down at 8:00.
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