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Philadelphia at Miami

Venue: AmericanAirlines Arena
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The Miami Heat's winning streak continues to grow. While the team insists they're focused on the bigger picture, a home matchup with the struggling Philadelphia 76ers seems to pose little threat to the team's red-hot run.

Miami can win its 17th straight game, matching the 12th-longest streak in NBA history and the league's best this season, with a victory over the Sixers on Friday night.

The Heat (45-14) already defeated Philadelphia once during the streak, 114-90 on Feb. 23, and now look for their 13th consecutive win in this regular-season series.

Eleven of the Heat's 16 straight victories - one shy of the Clippers' run to close 2012 - have come by double digits. However, three of four this month have been by seven points or fewer.

They needed some late-game heroics from LeBron James in a 97-96 win over Orlando on Wednesday. James provided the game-winning layup with 3.2 seconds left to extend the franchise-record streak, though the team doesn't sound preoccupied with the number.

"It really doesn't affect us," said Dwyane Wade, averaging 27.7 points and shooting 61.9 percent over the last seven games. That stretch includes 33 points on 14-of-18 shooting against Philadelphia.

"In a sense, we want to win, and we want to win every game we play. The day it comes where our streak gets broken we move on to the next game. Obviously, it is great, when you look back at it one day and say, 'Oh, we won that many games in a row.' But right now, we are just playing."

Instead, Miami still has its focus set on winning a second straight championship. A win Friday is the next step on that road, as the Heat would become the first team to clinch a playoff spot - with 22 games to play.

"We don't even talk about it," James said of the streak, during which he's averaging 28.2 points and shooting 61.0 percent. "We don't really get caught up into the streak at all. What we are trying to do is bigger than a streak."

The Sixers (23-37) will try to avoid becoming the first team to fall prey to Miami twice during the streak, but their prospects don't appear favorable as they've dropped three in a row and 10 of 11. Philadelphia also has lost 11 straight road games after a 107-97 defeat at Atlanta on Wednesday and hasn't won away from home since New Year's Day.

Miami's only three home losses have been to teams with winning records, and the 76ers have been below .500 for quite some time.

Fatigue may still be an issue for coach Doug Collins' team, which already appeared worn out at times against the Hawks. Friday will be the Sixers' ninth game in 14 days.

"We tried to give it our all, especially at first," said Jrue Holiday, shooting 13 for 48 (27.1 percent) over the last three games. "Sometimes when fatigue kicks in, it's hard to concentrate ... I think we just need some rest."

Philadelphia allowed Miami to shoot 58.4 percent in the first meeting as James had 16 points, 11 assists and 10 rebounds for one of his three triple-doubles this season.

The Heat offense has cooled a bit, getting held under 100 points in four straight games to tie a season high, but the defense has been solid. They've held those four opponents to averages of 90.3 points and 25.3 percent 3-point shooting while forcing 16.8 turnovers per game.

Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
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Game Odds
AwayLineHomeLine
Philadelphia 13.5 Miami -13.5
Standings
TeamStandingsWLPct.GBL 10Strk
Philadelphia5th Atlantic 222.083172-8Lost 4
Miami3rd Southeast 1214.46273-7Lost 1

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Injuries
Philadelphia
PlayerInjury
J GrantAnkle
Miami
PlayerInjury
J McRobertsKnee
 
Key Players
Andrew<br>Bynum
Andrew
Bynum
, C
0 Min. Per Game 38.5 LeBron<br>James
LeBron
James
, SF
0 Pts. Per Game 27.0
0.0 Ast. Per Game 7.2
0 Reb. Per Game 8.1
0 Field Goal % 56.2
0 Three Point % 40.0
0.0 Free Throw % 75.2
 
Team Rankings
TeamRankPoints
Philadelphia 76ers2570.59
Miami Heat394.40
 
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DateLocationResults
Oct 29MiamiMIA 107-95
Dec 1 @ WashingtonWAS 107-86
Dec 19Miami 
Mar 6 @ Washington 
 
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