PHILADELPHIA -- Hunched over at his locker with an exhausted expression only the father of a toddler can understand, Chris Bosh half-heartedly laughed when asked how he was holding up.
“It’s not rolling, man,” Bosh said.
Regardless of what the scores have suggested, the Heat’s winning streak has been anything but easy. The current five-game road trip will only make extending the franchise record that much more difficult. For Bosh, it’s a good thing he has a backup whose only goal on the court is to provide a nightly booster shot of energy.
Chris Andersen isn’t about to take any credit for the Heat’s current success, but it’s hard to ignore the numbers. The Heat is 23-2 since adding Andersen, the veteran big man who says “disruption” is his best basketball skill.
“He just keeps it going,” Bosh said of Andersen. “For the second-group guys, energy is the most important thing and he has come in and matched or exceeded us on a night-to-night basis.”
Not surprisingly, Andersen deflected questions before Wednesday’s game about his impact.
“I think the guys already knew the urgency they needed to prove to everybody that we are, they were, another championship-contending team,” Andersen said. “They did it on their own. They just brought me in and that’s all there is to it.”
Since joining the team, coach Erik Spoelstra and his assistants Erik Spoelstra have encouraged Andersen to let fly his mid-range jumper more often. He would rather block shots than shoot them, but Andersen actually has tried to open up his offensive game lately. He was 3 of 5 from the field for six points in the first half against the Sixers.
Andersen made his pick-and-roll dunk from an assist by LeBron James look easy in the first quarter. In the second period, Andersen swished a wide-open jumper from about 18 feet.
“I think [Andersen] has worked well with the chemistry of the second group and it has really helped the team out and it has really helped him out,” Bosh said.
The game’s highlight came early against the Sixers when Mario Chalmers tossed an alley-oop to James with 6:34 left in the first quarter.
Chalmers created the fast break with a steal in transition and then found James, who was trailing the play. Chalmers’ lob found James in midair and James finished with a one-handed dunk.
A close runner-up for dunk of the night was James’ two-handed reverse layup in traffic in the first half.
Chalmers was shooting 71.4 percent from the field in his previous three games but cooled off against the Sixers. He was 1 of 5 from the field in the first half and 0 of 3 from three-point range. Before the game, Spoelstra said he was concerned whether Chalmers could sustain his offense. For Chalmers, it’s all about defense.