Let’s try this again: Sixers-Heat preview
After failing to clinch the first seed during Tuesday’s loss to the Indiana Pacers, the Sixers will get to try again on the road tonight against the Miami Heat. Miami has won six of their last seven and has been making a push for the fourth seed in the Eastern Conference. With a Sixers win tonight, they can also push Miami into the lower part of the bracket and potentially avoid them entirely in the playoffs.
These two teams faced off back in January, but both sides were not entirely healthy. Miami was missing both Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo during the two-game matchup. Tonight’s game was also a last-minute flex onto TNT and will be the 76ers’ last national TV game before the playoffs.
The key to tonight’s game for Philadelphia is who can play. Joel Embiid, Matisse Thybulle, Shake Milton, and Furkan Korkmaz all missed Tuesday’s game. Their absences were the main reason the 76ers were unable to clinch the top seed. For tonight, Shake and Furkan are listed as probable, while both Embiid and Thybulle are questionable. Embiid will be a significant piece to pulling off a win tonight because only having Dwight guarding Bam will be a problem. There’s a chance Philly catches a break with Jimmy Butler being questionable with an eye injury.
Adding depth will be a huge bonus, though, no matter what. Absolutely nobody wants to watch Mike Scott start or play more than 10 minutes a game off the bench, so adding Shake and Korkmaz will be huge. Another key to tonight’s game will be the 76ers’ ability to shoot from deep. Against the Pacers, they shot just 31% from three and just 30% when playing Detroit. The Sixers bench has shot a whopping 20% from three over their last 20 attempts and made just one three on Tuesday.
If the Sixers can have their bench at full health and find some rhythm from deep, they should have a good shot at clinching the top seed. Either way, if Embiid is out, this game will be tight and might not end well for Philadelphia. Hopefully, all is okay with Joel, but the 76ers will need him if they want a good shot at pulling off a win against the Heat tonight.
Mandatory Credit: Charles Fox Philadelphia Inquirer