No need for Dwyane Wade drama this time. Not with Wayne Ellington back.
After the Miami Heat's previous two games against the Philadelphia 76ers came down to last-seconds Wade shots – a miss in a loss in Philadelphia, a make last week at AmericanAirlines Arena – the Miami Heat this time bypassed the drama in favor of a 108-99 victory Thursday night over the visiting 76ers.
"We go on a run, they go on a run," Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said, "it's been this way for four games."
Back after missing the previous four games with a bruised left quadriceps, Ellington converted a pair of late 3-pointers to help the Heat move within one game of the 76ers for the No. 6 seed in the Eastern Conference.
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"He changes your menu offensively," Spoelstra said, with Ellington closing with nine points on three 3-point conversions. "You just have so many different dimensions."
The ending wasn't without a drama, but it nonetheless allowed the Heat to close the season series at 2-2.
"Our guys knew what this game meant," Spoelstra said.
Hassan Whiteside led the Heat with 26 points, supported by 16 from Wade.
"I think a large part of that was Hassan taking initiative and being assertive," Spoelstra said of Whiteside's performance.
Dario Saric scored 20 for the 76ers, with 18 from JJ Redick and 17 Joel Embiid, who shot 5 of 18.
The Heat were as close to whole as they can be for the balance of the season, with Ellington back. The only player on the Heat injury report now is guard Dion Waiters, who underwent season-ending ankle surgery in January.
Spoelstra moved guard Tyler Johnson back into the starting lineup, after Johnson opened the second half of Tuesday's loss to the Washington Wizards with the starters.
That had Whiteside opening at center, James Johnson and Josh Richardson at forward, and Goran Dragic and Tyler Johnson at guard.
A Justise Winslow 3-point with 6:39 to play pushed the Heat to an 88-78 lead, with an Ellington 3-pointer with 4:48 to play then putting the Heat up 92-81.
Embiid then countered with a 3-pointer, which Whiteside partially offset with a dunk, to put the Heat's lead back at double digits and another Ellington 3-pointer later putting the Heat up 97-85.
The drama later continued when, after a Wade basket put the Heat up 101-90, a video review awarded the 76ers possession on an out-of-bounds play. With Whiteside called for a foul before the ensuing inbounds play and Redick converting a jumper, the 76ers then closed within 101-93.
Then with 1:24 to play, Marco Belinelli converted a 3-pointer to draw Philadelphia within 101-96.
Whiteside followed with a pair of free throws and Wade then dunked in transition to make it 105-96 with 50.6 seconds to play.
The game took a twist when Embiid, 3 of 13 to that stage, was called for his fifth foul with 8:03 to play. The Heat, though, then put the 76ers in the bonus for the balance of the game with 7 minutes to play.
The 76ers went into the fourth quarter up 74-73.
Whiteside was up to 18 points at that stage, a juncture when the 76ers help a 23-2 edge in fastbreak points.
The game took a turn for the testy with 9:11 to play in the third period, when Whiteside and Embiid got into a shoving match. The result was a technical foul on Whiteside, but also Embiid's fourth personal foul, which forced him to the bench at that juncture for the balance of the period, with the 76ers up one.
Earlier, the Heat had yet another shaky close to a period, this time going from a 12-point second-quarter lead to a 53-49 halftime edge.
Whiteside was up to 11 points and six rebounds at the intermission.
The Heat led 29-28 at the end of an opening period that opened a window into Spoelstra's potential approach with his second unit, going late in the period with a lineup of Bam Adebayo, Kelly Olynyk, Winslow, Wade and Ellington.