76ers out-tank the Heat, but Nets probably save Miami

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The Miami Heat started a player they once pledged not to re-sign, their second-best Dragic, someone better known by his previous name, a former second-rounder who played in Australia last season and an undrafted rookie

And they still couldn’t lose.

In a high-stake game with the Heat’s top-10 protected first-round pick on the line, the 76ers dealt Miami a crucial win and dramatically increased the odds of the Heat’s pick going to Philadelphia. But the Nets beat the Magic, probably saving Miami from a huge roster-building letdown.

The Heat hold the No. 10 seed in the lottery and have just a 9.1 percent chance of falling and sending it to the Philadelphia (which got it in the Kevin Love-Andrew Wiggins trade from Cleveland, which got it from Miami in the 2010 LeBron James sign-and-trade). If Brooklyn lost, Miami would have had a 53.1 percent chance of losing the pick.

Still, the 76ers did all they could to tilt the odds in their favor by losing to the Heat tonight.

Actually with just 13 combined players – many of them scrubs, at that – playing, it might be inappropriate to say the Heat beat the 76ers.

Michael Beasley, Zoran Dragic, Henry Walker, James Ennis, Tyler Johnson and Udonis Haslem beat Jerami Grant, Henry Sims, JaKarr Sampson, Robert Covington, Glenn Robinson III, Hollis Thompson and Thomas Robinson.

Four of the Heat’s starters played all 48 minutes with Dragic (41 minutes) and Udonis Haslem (seven minutes) splitting the rest. This was a farce.

The 76ers’ two years of tanking experience paid off. They knew how to get the job done.

It just probably won’t be enough to get Miami’s pick.

That’s the loss that hurts.