Whiteside helps Heat rally past 76ers, 103-98

AP Sports Writer

MIAMI (AP) — Hassan Whiteside had seven blocked shots, including a pivotal one late as the Miami Heat won their fifth in a row, beating the Philadelphia 76ers 103-98 on Sunday.

The Sixers were short-handed and endured their 12th consecutive loss, but they were a handful for the Heat. Ish Smith had 21 points and five assists to lead Philadelphia.

Goran Dragic had 23 points, eight rebounds and five assists, and Dwyane Wade also had 23 points for the Heat. Whiteside had 14 points and 13 rebounds off the bench.

The Heat missed 10 consecutive shots in the second half and went nearly 8 minutes without a basket as the 76ers took a 72-69 lead, and the margin reached 79-73 before Miami rallied.

A frantic sequence that began with a block by Whiteside turned the game for the Heat. They came up with the rebound to start a fast break that ended with a running dunk by Wade, before he and Dragic both went sprawling happily to the floor as the crowd erupted.

That put the Heat up 91-87 with 3:21 left, and they led the rest of the way.

The Heat beat Philadelphia for the second time in three nights for their longest regular-season winning streak since an eight-game stretch from Feb. 11 to March 3, 2014. They climbed a season-high 11 games over .500 and matched last season’s win total of 37 with 19 games remaining.

The Heat have won 26 of their past 30 games against the 76ers, including the playoffs.

Miami improved to 8-2 since losing Chris Bosh to a blood clot in his calf, and they’re 5-0 since signing Joe Johnson after the seven-time All-Star agreed to a buyout with the Brooklyn Nets. Johnson had 14 points and five rebounds.

Philadelphia was again without Jahlil Okafor (bruised shin), Nerlens Noel (bruised knee) and Nik Stauskas (illness). All are expected to return soon.

Smith’s buzzer-beating 3-pointer to end the first half put the 76ers ahead 49-47. They fell to 5-14 when leading at halftime.

Philadelphia dropped to 3-30 on the road.

Heat: Whiteside, who had made 28 of 30 free throws over the past six games, went 6 for 10.
76ers: Elton Brand, making his second appearance this season after coming out of retirement, played 6 minutes and didn’t score.

76ers: Host Houston on Wednesday.
Heat: Visit Milwaukee on Wednesday.

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