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Sixers vs. Heat Final Score: Philadelphia falls short in good effort against Miami, 103-98

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The boys in blue went down swinging.

Robert Duyos-USA TODAY Sports

The Sixers lost to the Miami Heat in a close one on Sunday evening by a final score of 103 to 98. It was a surprisingly entertaining game that featured 12 lead changes. It was a back-and-forth affair late in the game until one of Hassan Whiteside's seven (!) blocks sprung Dwyane Wade for a fast break poster dunk over Ish Smith to give Miami a four-point lead with three minutes left. The Sixers tried to close the gap but they couldn't capitalize. The Heat never relinquished their control of the game. And so for the second night in three days, Philadelphia's shorthanded squad put up a really nice effort against the Heat but ultimately fell short.

There's a lot to discuss so let's just get right to it.

Final Thoughts

Carl Landry got off to a really hot start, which is probably something you didn't expect to hear. The Heat didn't have an answer for him early on. The veteran big man was a force in the post and he even hit a few jumpers. He finished the game with a season-high 18 points on 8-16 shooting. He also had seven boards and one steal.

• Whiteside was a dominant force on defense. The Sixers also predictably struggled to handle him on offense when they went with smaller lineups. Having Nerlens Noel's defense for this game would have been nice.

• Ish Smith led the Sixers in scoring with 21 points on an efficient 8-12 shooting performance. He also had five assists, four rebounds, and a steal. I really like how Smith looks to run down the floor and attack the basket right after the Sixers get a rebound or give up a basket. Here's an example of him doing that and getting a one-on-one situation that he's capable of winning.

If you don't hustle back, Ish will make you pay.

Speaking of hustle, this buzzer-beater from Ish to give the Sixers a lead at the half was great:

Nothing but net.

Marc Zumoff and Alaa Abdelnaby each both made a strong plea for the Sixers to re-sign Smith, who will be a free agent after the season, during the broadcast. He's not without his flaws but I hope Ish sticks around, too.

• The Sixers defense played pretty well at times. They only allowed a total of 39 points in the second and third quarter combined. I thought the Heat were hitting some tough shots that Philadelphia defended well. Joe Johnson hit a few ridiculous shots like this, as he is capable of doing. Goran Dragic had a few tough makes as well. Miami shot 8-14 from deep.

Robert Covington went off against the Heat on Friday but he wasn't so hot (pun intended) in this one. He scored nine points on 3-10 shooting.

Isaiah Canaan was up and down. Surprise! He hit some shots from deep to keep the Sixers in the game but he also missed some looks at the hoop late in the game. Two of Canaan's 17 points came when he got a putback layup with Whiteside nearby. Yeah, you read that right. Whiteside was caught being lazy and didn't box out.

T.J. McConnell had the best +/- rating of any Sixers player at +15. He had four points on 2-4 shooting, three assists, two rebounds, and one steal in 12 minutes played.

• I loved seeing Elton Brand hustle on the court for the six minutes he played. The 36-year-old ran back on defense to stop a Heat fast break and was later seen diving on the floor for a loose ball. Great stuff from Sugar Bear. Brand didn't score but he had two rebounds and two assists.

• Good tanking news: the Lakers and the Suns both won today. The Sixers have a 4.5 game lead on finishing with the worst record.

• Shoutout to this Sixers fan representing in the Miami crowd:

Jakarr Sampson update:

Baron Davis update:

Dario Saric update:

• And last but certainly not least, I should point out that it's been exactly one year since this Joel Embiid dunk happened.

Up Next: The Sixers don't play again until Wednesday evening when the Houston Rockets come to town. 19 games left!