MIAMI -- This night was about ties.
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The ones Samuel Dalembert's two dunks in the final 34 seconds would have given Philadelphia, had they not been whistled off.
And most importantly for the Miami Heat, the one they stayed in with Milwaukee in the super-tight Eastern Conference playoff race.
Wade scored eight of his 22 points in the final four minutes, Dorell Wright added 19 off the bench and the surging Heat rallied past the 76ers 99-95 on Wednesday night for their ninth straight win. Miami (44-34) kept pace with Milwaukee in the race for the East's No. 5 spot, though the Bucks hold the tiebreaker edge.
"You've got to find a way," Wade said. "As much as we'd all love it to be pretty all the time, it's not going to be that way. So tonight was an ugly one for us. We struggled - but you know, we found a way at the end."
Dalembert put up 19 points and 16 rebounds for Philadelphia, but afterward, could only lament those two dunks that weren't meant to be. Jrue Holiday charged into Haslem on a pass that set Dalembert up for one of those slams, and another that would have tied the game with 5.6 seconds left was waved off because Dalembert was deemed to have touched the ball inside the cylinder.
Naturally, Dalmebert disagreed.
"At first it seemed as if it was inside, but when you look at the replay, it was outside," Dalembert said. "The referees are not perfect. I think in a crucial point like that they should have gone and watched the replay."
"He did what came natural for him," Williams said. "He's a big guy. You take the rim, especially with the game winding down. There's no pointing fingers to do what came natural."
So did Wade, especially late.
Wade started slowly, but scored six straight points for Miami down the stretch to help save the Heat. His two free throws with 48 seconds left broke a 95-all tie -- on a play where, after he got fouled, he skipped past the Philadelphia bench and stopped to playfully adjust Jordan's tie.
Jordan could only laugh.
"It was a little off," Wade said. "He's one of them coaches who liked to look good, so I hooked him up."
The second unit was what hooked up the Heat.
Wright made 4 of 6 tries from 3-point range, Haslem grabbed double-digit rebounds for the fourth straight game, and Miami's bench outscored Philadelphia's 45-35.
"We can't look back," Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. "We have to continue to move forward. The play of the game, I thought, was Udonis with his charge."
Jermaine O'Neal, in his first game back after missing four with a hyperextended right knee, had four points and nine rebounds in 27 minutes for Miami.
A night after getting blown out by 21 points against Detroit, the 76ers came to Miami with a far different attitude.
The 76ers went on a 12-0 run in the first quarter, and scored the first 10 of the second half, Dalembert scoring six of them and controlling the glass at both ends. And when Wade got his fourth foul with 4:02 left in the third, Miami was down 70-63 and in clear trouble.
That is, until Wade -- who had scored six points in the game's first 32 minutes -- scored eight in a 2-minute span late in the third. He had a pair of three-point plays, and that helped Miami tie the game at 77 entering the fourth.
"We struggled tonight," Wade said. "Simple as that."Notes
- The Heat are 10 games over .500 for the first time since the 2005-06 championship season.
- Jordan said he talked with Dalembert and Elton Brand about expectations for the season's final week, one day after both played just 12½ minutes in the loss to Detroit.
- Soon, Wade will have yet another Heat record: He made his 460th start, one shy of Glen Rice's mark.
- Dalembert said he won't take long after the season before returning to his native Haiti and continuing efforts to help the country recover from earthquakes that devastated Port-au-Prince. "The stage we're in now, it's about preventing further problems," Dalembert said.