Heat beat 76ers to advance in playoffs

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Heat beat 76ers to advance in playoffs

MIAMI - Dwyane Wade scored 12 of his 26 points in the fourth quarter in leading Miami to a 97-91 victory over Philadelphia that advanced the Heat into a second-round NBA playoff matchup with Boston.

Chris Bosh scored 22 points and matched Wade with a game-high 11 rebounds while LeBron James added 16 points, 10 rebounds and a game-high eight assists as Miami ousted the 76ers 4-1 in the best-of-seven Eastern Conference series.

“[It was] very difficult. That team is resilient,” Wade said. “We knew it was going to be that way.”

Miami, which went 1-3 against Boston this season, reached a much-anticipated matchup against the Celtics and their rival superstar trio of Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen and Paul Pierce.

“We have gotten better since game one of the regular season and we have gotten better every game since,” Wade said.

“It’s going to be a great series. We will be ready for game one.”

The Chicago Bulls will face Orlando or Atlanta in the other second-round Eastern Conference matchup.

The host Hawks can eliminate Orlando in game six on Thursday.

Mario Chalmers added 20 points for Miami while Elton Brand and Andre Iguodala each scored 22 points to lead the 76ers.

Miami, which won the first three games of the series, finished off Philadelphia despite a 76ers rally down the stretch.

Wade sank a 3-pointer to put Miami ahead 81-71 with 8 minutes and 20 seconds remaining and capped his run of seven of eight Heat points with a driving jumper after the 76ers had closed the gap to boost Miami’s lead back to 86-78 with 5 minutes to play.

But after Thaddeus Young sank a driving jumper and Jrue Holiday added two free throws with 3 minutes and15 seconds remaining, the 76ers had pulled back within 86-84.

James added two free throws for Miami but Iguodala answered for Philadelphia with a long jump shot. Bosh hit two free throws for the Heat but Young responded with another jumper to keep the 76ers within 2 points.

A shot-clock violation by Miami gave the 76ers the ball but rookie Evan Turner missed a baseline jumper that would have pulled the visitors even.

Wade was called for a technical foul for complaining about the lack of a foul call on the 76ers when he drove to the basket and Philadelphia sank a free throw to pull within a point.

Bosh added two free throws to make it 92-89 with 51 seconds to play but Iguodala sank another jumper to put Philadelphia within a point once again.

Miami’s Joel Anthony sank two tension-packed free throws with 16 seconds remaining, stretching the Heat’s lead to 94-91 with 16 seconds to play.

Iguodala missed a two-point attempt and Wade, who was fouled going for the rebound, made the second of his two free throws to seal the Heat victory.


AFP

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