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Sixers-Heat Preview: If You Can't Stand The Heat...

Coming off their 3rd win of the season, can the 76ers get their first winning streak of the season against a short-handed Heat?

Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

The Miami Heat are predictably not the same team they have been for the past couple years. There's a LeBron James-sized hole in their roster and despite great play from the remaining members of Destiny's Child Hanson Miami's iteration of the "Big 3", the Heat have been all but that, posting a cool 13-15 record so far this year.

In their first meeting of the year, the Heat were able to absolutely blank the Sixers in the 4th quarter despite it being a close contest after 3 AND the heroics of former Sixer Brandon Davies.

Since then, this Sixers team looks a lot different both in play and it's make up. Chris Johnson, Alexey Shved, and Brandon Davies are not on the team anymore. Malcolm Thomas was a thing, then wasn't, then was, then wasn't. "Lord" Robert Covington has been a Godsend. Finally, Michael Carter-Williams is back and trying to pick up (for better or worse) where he left off last season.

The Miami Heat, on the other hand, have been hit with some injury woes. One of their major free agent acquisitions, Josh McRoberts tore his right lateral meniscus and will likely miss the rest of the season. Meanwhile, Chris Bosh has been dealing with a calf strain and hasn't been clear on when he'll return, though he hopes to be ready for Christmas against LeBron and the Cavaliers.

Finally, rapidly-deteriorating player formerly known as "Flash" is dealing with his own soup-du-jour injury! Hyperbole and jest aside, despite playing well, Dwyane Wade has only suited up for 20 out of 28 games this year. While some of those games have been strategic to allow Wade rest for the rigors of the season, his recent misses were due to dealing with a knee contusion. As of this writing he's still questionable for the game.

It's important to note that the Sixers hold the Heat's 2015 1st-Round draft pick as a result of the trade that sent Thaddeus Young to Minnesota. Personally, the trade looks better by the day as Shved, himself, has netted a 2nd-Round pick (and Cap Room!) and Luc Mbah a Moute (despite my displeasure for the better part of this season) has actually looked decent and productive. Most importantly, the positioning of that Miami pick looks to be towards the mid-to-late-teens if trends continue!

With the Sixers looking a lot better as of late, and if the Heat are without its two best players, Philly has a legitimate shot at winning their 4th game, and first consecutive game of the season. Fearing myself jinx their performance, I'll reserve an actual prediction. However, if you want to send a last minute request to Santa for an early Christmas present, now's the time!