The Miami Heat were without Dwyane Wade when they faced the Philadelphia 76ers Tuesday night, as Wade sat out with a bruised heel. No big deal though -- the Heat were 8-1 this season in games without Wade. Miami ran that record to 9-1 as LeBron James carried the offensive workload, scoring a season-high 41 points on the way to a 99-93 victory.
The Sixers held a three-point halftime lead, but the Heat quickly erased that with a 12-1 run to open the second half. It was a tightly contested affair throughout, as the largest lead of the evening was a brief 10-point fourth-quarter advantage for the Heat. But Philadelphia refused to go away, even without its All-Star Andre Iguodala, who left the game in the third quarter after being inadvertently struck in the eye by Mario Chalmers.
After the Heat took its 10-point lead at 85-75, Philadelphia's defense clamped down and held Miami scoreless for the next four minutes. Unfortunately, the 76ers were mostly unable to make shots themselves. Missing several golden opportunities to score, Philadelphia only managed to get within four -- at which point James took over. He scored 11 points on Miami's next six possessions to put the game out of reach.
Both Miami and Philadelphia are fighting for playoff positioning. Miami came into the game three games behind Chicago -- but only one game back in the loss column. With two games remaining against the Bulls, the Heat actually controls its own destiny in its quest for the best record in the Eastern Conference. The Heat also trail Oklahoma City and San Antonio slightly, which would determine home court advantage should it meet one of those teams in the NBA Finals. In fact, Miami has a key meeting with the Thunder Wednesday night.
Philadelphia began and ended the evening in seventh place in the East -- but a mere three games out of third place. They are now 1.5 games behind the Boston Celtics in the race for the Atlantic Division title, which would bring a fourth seed in the playoffs and a favorable first-round matchup. If the playoffs began now, the second place Heat would face the seventh place Sixers -- clearly not the matchup Philadelphia wants given that it just lost to the Heat for the fourth time in four tries this season.
To complement James' 41, Mario Chalmers scored 19 and Chris Bosh had 17. In addition to starting Shane Battier for the injured Wade, Heat coach Eric Spoelstra inserted Ronny Turiaf, in his seventh game with Miami since being acquired off waivers, into the starting lineup for Joel Anthony.
The Sixers were led by Evan Turner, who matched his career high with 26 points and Lou Williams scored 18 off the bench.
For all of Tuesday's NBA box scores, check out SI.com's NBA scoreboard.