Sixers Sent Packing

The Miami Heat advances to the semi-finals

Not easy -- but over.

The Miami Heat beat the 76ers 97-91 to advance to the Eastern Conference semifinals, sending the Sixers to pack up for the season.

Andre Iguodala was the only Sixer to post a double-double with 22 points and 10 rebounds. Elton Brand contributed with his own share of 22 points, but it wasn't enough.

Philadelphia had a chance to tie with 1:10 left, but Evan Turner's baseline jumper bounced off the rim and LeBron James grabbed his 10th rebound.

Dwayne Wade made a 3-pointer with 8:34 left, pumped his fist on his way up the sideline, and Miami was up 81-71. He crossed Iguodala over twice for baskets later in the period, each of those giving the Heat eight-point leads.

The Sixers got within two on three occasions and -- helped by a technical foul assessed by Steve Javie against Wade with 51 seconds left -- cut Miami's lead to one point at 90-89 and again at 92-91.

Anthony then swished a pair of free throws, restoring the three-point edge. Iguodala missed on Philly's next possession, and Miami finally escaped.

Wade capped the win with a slam dunk with a half-second left, as white seat covers got tossed around the arena triumphantly by the sellout crowd.

Heat coach Erik Spoelstra and Sixers coach Doug Collins shared a warm handshake moments later, most on the two rosters exchanged quick hugs, and then Miami retreated back to its locker room for what was surely a quick celebration.

After all, Boston awaits.

James created a bit of a stir before the game by, of all things, quoting rapper Jay-Z.

Asked after Miami's morning shootaround practice about the need to finish Philadelphia off on Wednesday to allow time to finally start preparing for Boston, James said the Heat were focusing on, "just finishing our breakfast," the lyric Jay-Z used.

Collins shrugged it off as "an analogy." But some Sixers seemed to take offense at the comment -- Lou Williams was giving teammates various breakfast-item nicknames before the game, saying some were fruit salad, others flapjacks.

Maybe it was no coincidence that James was nearly held to another breakfast food -- a bagel, otherwise known as 0 points -- in the first half.

Maybe next year.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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