LeBron James and Dwyane Wade haven't played in the Miami Heat's past three games. Going into Saturday's matchup against the middling Philadelphia 76ers, there's little reason to believe this is the night they'll both be shuttled back into action.
Winding down the season with the top seed in the Eastern Conference secured, the Heat host the Sixers in South Beach with what will presumably be a shorthanded crew.
In a must-win, playoff atmosphere, James and Wade would likely be ready to suit up and ball out, but the past few games have given Miami's stars a welcomed opportunity to get some rest before the end of the season. The Heat locked up the best record in the East a while ago, rendering these final games relatively unimportant.
That makes it highly unlikely that the two Heat stars will play Saturday night, writes Hot Hot Hoops, SB Nation's Heat blog.
Playing without its two best players hasn't stopped Miami from competing and winning games, though. Riding big performances by Chris Bosh and — wait for it — Mike Miller, the Heat have won two of their three games without James and Wade. The lone loss required a superhuman 50-point performance from Carmelo Anthony.
Facing a struggling Philadelphia team that's lost 14 consecutive games against Miami, this seems as good a matchup as any to keep resting LeBron and Wade.
Coming off their fourth win in five games, the 76ers have played better basketball of late, but Friday's 101-90 win over Atlanta was their first road win over an opponent with a winning record since Jan. 1. Philly is 8-5 since March 10, but it's still a team that often looks out of rhythm and squanders opportunities.
Just take a look at the breakdown of Jrue Holiday's 2-of-24 shooting performance in a recent loss to the Bobcats by Liberty Ballers, SB Nation's 76ers blog. They're playing better, but sometimes fans still need to grasp straws to find the positives.
One bright spot in recent games has been former No. 2 overall pick Evan Turner, who has been the key figure behind the team's recent turnaround. In the team's past five games, Turner is averaging 19.2 points, 8.8 rebounds and 3.2 assists, shooting 44 percent from three-point range and 53 percent overall.
If the Sixers will have a chance to get their first win over Miami since 2009, Turner will likely need to continue his current hot streak.
Saturday's game begins at 7:30 p.m. ET, broadcast on ESPN.