Robbin’ Szn: 76ers-Heat Game One Preview, Odds, and Prediction
We have finally arrived to round two of the NBA Playoffs. The Philadelphia 76ers will open up a seven game series against the Miami Heat tonight in South Beach.
2021-2022 76ers-Heat Regular Season Matchup (Split 2-2)
- December 15th: 101-96 Heat
- January 15th: 109-98 Sixers
- March 5th: 99-82 Heat
- March 21st: 113-106 Sixers
Regular Season Notes
James Harden did not play against the Heat with the 76ers in the regular season.
Tyrese Maxey has played great against the Heat, including a 28-point performance without Embiid and Harden playing on March 21st.
Tobias Harris averaged 19 points nearly 52 percent shooting from the floor against the Heat and will be tasked with containing Jimmy Butler on defense.
Shake Milton scored 20 points, adding 5 rebounds and 6 assists off the bench on March 21st.
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The 76ers Need to Steal Game One in Miami
After a convincing Game 6 win in Toronto last Thursday night, the vibes around the 76ers were at an all-time high, thanks to dominant performances from Joel Embiid, James Harden, Tyrese Maxey, and Tobias Harris to close out round one against the Raptors.
Shortly after, we learned that Joel Embiid suffered a mild concussion and a right orbital bone fracture thanks to Pascal Siakam’s elbow while the Sixers were up 29 points in the final four minutes of the game. Obviously, that’s a soul crushing blow to the 76ers and the city of Philadelphia, but there’s hope that Embiid will mask up and return to the team on Friday for Game 3.
That being said, all focus is now shifted to the first two games in Miami, and trying to find a way to steal a game without Embiid on the court.
If the 76ers are going to steal a game in Miami, it’s going to be tonight in game one. The Heat are dealing with injuries across their entire lineup and the 76ers have the opportunity to come out tonight and punch them right in the face, taking game one and setting the tone for the rest of the series.
Miami QUESTIONABLE: Jimmy Butler (right knee inflammation), Tyler Herro (respiratory illness), Caleb Martin (left ankle sprain), Markieff Morris (respiratory illness), Max Strus (right hamstring strain) and PJ Tucker (right calf strain)
Miami OUT: Kyle Lowry (left hamstring strain)
76ers QUESTIONABLE: Charles Bassey (right shoulder soreness)
76ers OUT: Joel Embiid (facial fracture and concussion)
76ers Off-Ball Offense
No Embiid means the 76ers need to make massive adjustments to the way they operate on offense and defense. For a team that was already on the smaller side (minus Embiid), they will now be running a full small-ball set and need to make sure that they stay active on both ends of the court.
Offensively, the 76ers have lost their sun. It sounds corny, but Joel Embiid is a gravitational force that attracted so much attention and opened up the floor for the rest of the Sixers offense to operate.
That being said, moving towards more of a small-ball approach on offense can help the Sixers. Constant motion and getting the ball out in transition can help keep the Heat’s defense off balance and provide openings on offense in ways that wouldn’t have worked with Embiid anchoring the center position.
With Kyle Lowry out tonight and Jimmy Butler playing on a bad leg, the 76ers should be able to capitalize offensively, finding the weak-link in Miami’s defense and exploiting it. On March 21st, that was Tyler Herro, who was absolutely embarrassed by the 76ers offense, allowing 30 points on 14-21 shooting from primarily Tyrese Maxey and Shake Milton and yes, even Furkan Korkmaz.
76ers Defense: The Fight Against Miami’s Pick and Roll and Screens
Defensively, the 76ers need to stay alert and make quick and decisive moves to counter Miami’s strong pick-and-roll offense. The Heat love setting screens to open up the perimeter for guys like Max Strus, Tyler Herro, Duncan Robinson, and Gabe Vincent.
Without Embiid anchoring the defense, the 76ers are going to have to rely on Paul Reed to stay out of foul trouble and to make the right decisions on when to switch defenders or drop down in the paint to stop cutters looking for an open lane.
That is a monumental task for Paul Reed to take on, and it could really hurt the Sixers this series. Outside of Reed, there’s no way DeAndre Jordan will be able to move quickly on defense and I have my doubts in Paul Millsap doing so in any type of extended minutes. That could mean Doc Rivers turns to Charles Bassey, who as we all know, is a major question mark as well.
Hawks – Heat Round One Key Notes (Heat Won Series 4-1)
Game One: Duncan Robinson scored 27 points on 8-of-9 shooting from beyond the arc for the Heat.
Game Two: Jimmy Butler scored 45 points to give the Heat a 2-0 series lead.
Game Three: Tyler Herro led the Heat with 24 points, and Max Strus also had 20 in Heat loss.
Game Four: Jimmy Butler scored 36 points to lead the Heat to a convincing win in Atlanta. Also worth noting, Miami outscored Atlanta 47-26 in the paint.
Game Five: No Jimmy Butler. Victor Oladipo scored 23 points, while Bam Adebayo added 20 points and 11 rebounds, eliminating Trae Young and the Atlanta Hawks 97-94.
Contain Jimmy Butler, Let The Supporting Cast Try to Beat You
If you look at the notes above, it’s pretty clear how the Miami Heat win basketball games. Jimmy Butler needs to be contained and the 76ers need to focus on the perimeter to limit the damage from the perimeter.
When you lose Joel Embiid, it’s going to be a tall-task to make up for his lack of presence offensively and defensively, but still, a team built around James Harden, Tobias Harris, and Tyrese Maxey with solid role-player performances from Danny Green, Georges Niang, and even Shake Milton should be enough to steal a game in Miami tonight.
|Philadelphia 76ers||+7.5 (-110)||+260||O 208.5 (-115)|
|Miami Heat||-7.5 (-110)||-350||U 208.5 (-105)|
Game One Prediction
I’m taking the Philadelphia 76ers +260 on the money line tonight behind strong performances from the temporary Big 3 in James Harden, Tyrese Maxey, and Tobias Harris. If you want to roll more on the safe-side of things, +7.5 (-110) is extremely attractive as well.
I also like the over tonight at 208.5 and could easily see this game ending with the 76ers stealing game one 112-108 to give them a much needed win on the road to start round two.
In closing, I’ll leave you with a video from Did The Sixers Win.
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Mandatory Credit: Mitchell Leff/Getty Images