Win or Die Trying: Heat-76ers Preview, Odds, Official Prediction
To say the very least, it’s been a rollercoaster week here at The Liberty Line. After evening the series on Sunday night, we made a last minute decision to buy flights, hotels, and tickets to 76ers-Heat Game 5 in Miami. Although you can never really be too mad at a spontaneous trip to South Beach, the game was absolutely brutal and Heat fans gave us the warmest of welcomes while the lifeless Sixers got the crap beat out of them, losing 120-85.
Still, it’s important to remember that after Sunday’s win this series became a best of three and winning three straight round two playoff games is a tall-task for any team. Although Game 5 sucked, we still have two games left to advance to the Eastern Conference Finals and it starts tonight in South Philadelphia.
The 76ers were dismantled and downright embarrassed by the Heat in Game 5. Neither team has been able to show up on the road this series and now the Sixers find themselves in a must-win situation. Can the Heat finally show up on the road to close out the series or will Embiid and Philadelphia rally to force yet another Game 7 playoff game in South Beach on Sunday?
Do or Die, Folks. Let’s get into it.
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Miami on the Road
The Miami Heat haven’t shot the ball well on the road this series. Over two games in Philly, they have shot just 27% from three point range. At home, they have shot a much better 37% from beyond the arc.
Defense will be the ultimate decider in who wins this series.
76ers Adjustments – Who Will Answer the Call Outside of Joel Embiid?
Embiid is obviously playing through a ridiculous amount of pain and injury, but still has found ways to be effective, helping the 76ers stay in this series against the Heat.
Embiid’s shooting has fallen off which could easily be explained by the fact that he has a torn ligament in his thumb, however in Game 5, he still managed to lead the 76ers in scoring with 17 points on 7-of-12 shooting.
If Joel Embiid is leading the 76ers in scoring with 17 points then just pack it in. That’s not going to be enough to take down the Heat in two straight games. The Sixers weren’t able to buy a bucket in Game 5, shooting a pitiful 28% from beyond the arc (9-of-32).
Someone needs to step up tonight outside of Joel Embiid
On Tuesday night, Tyrese Maxey struggled with just 9 points on 2-of-10 shooting while Tobias Harris put up a measly 12 points. The 76ers desperately need Tyrese Maxey and Tobias Harris to lead them to a win tonight. We’ll worry about Game 7 when the time comes.
I’m honestly not sure if James Harden can be the guy to do as he did in the fourth quarter of Game 4. Harden only put up 14 points on 5-of-13 shooting in Game 5, making just 2-of-6 attempts from three point range.
Harden is the most unpredictable player on this 76ers team. You don’t know what type of performance he can offer on a nightly basis but if we get “Harden the Point Guard” where he can dish out double-digit assists and limit turnovers, thats honestly the best possible outcome for this Sixers team.
The Supporting Cast
Over the last three games, Danny Green has hit 12-of-17 three point attempts, largely in part to a 7-of-9 performance from beyond the arc in Game 3. Since then, the Heat have held Green to just eight 3-point attempts total, making a clear adjustment to “stay home” along the perimeter to limit the looks Green has been getting.
The 76ers need to find a way to create more space and increase shot efficiency along the perimeter, whether that comes from Green, Niang, or at this point, even Shake Milton.
Heat-76ers Odds via BetMGM
|Miami Heat||+2.5 (-110)||+115||O 207.5 (-110)|
|Philadelphia 76ers||-2.5 (-110)||-140||U 207.5 (-110)|
The 76ers have a knack for bouncing back after brutal performances and I think that’s exactly what we’ll see tonight. In recent memory, Embiid and Harris have bounced back in Game 6 after falling behind in series to both the Raptors and Hawks.
- 2019: 76ers beat the Raptors Game 6 in Philly to force Game 7
- 2021: 76ers beat the Hawks in Game 6 in Atlanta to force Game 7
I know what everyone is thinking seeing “Game 7” listed above but honestly, we can’t even begin to worry about that right now. Focus on tonight, get the Game 6 win and then we’ll worry about Game 7 in Miami starting tomorrow.
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Player Props Tonight
Here’s my Spider Parlay (8-Legs) for tonight’s game. Either this hits or the Philadelphia 76ers will probably lose this game, which I don’t believe will happen. Either way, hit me up on Twitter and let me know what you’re rolling with tonight and we’ll sweat it out together.