The daily preview muscles into the paint with NBA tips for an Eastern Conference barnburner between Miami Heat and Philadelphia 76ers.
09:30 (AEST), Fri 14th May @ AmericanAirlines Arena, Miami
History: Played 136: Heat 69 V 76ers 67
Last meeting: January 14, 2021: 76ers 125 d Heat 108 at Wells Fargo Center
Final Thoughts: Miami Heat are in hot form and appear to have avoided the play-in tournament threat. Next up they host the Eastern Conference-leading Philadelphia 76ers, who still have a bit of work to do to wrap up the top seed.
The 38-31 Heat have moved up to fifth in the East with six wins in their last seven games. They have accounted for the Celtics twice in Boston this week, 130-124 and 129-121.
The mercurial Jimmy Butler (26 pts, 8 reb, 11 ast) starred in the earlier encounter, while Tyler Herro (24 pts, 11 reb) lit it up from the bench in the latter. Avoiding the play-in tournament is a huge boost for Miami – particularly for Butler and Bam Adebayo, who have worked so hard to get the Heat into this position – and they are still gunning for the fourth seed.
The 47-22 Sixers are in the box-seat for the top seed – they have two clashes with the Magic after this tough assignment. But the 76ers had their eight-game winning streak ended by the Pacers (103-94) in their most recent outings.
Tellingly, Philadelphia’s dominant big man, Joel Embiid, missed the Pacers loss. The last game Embiid missed was the previous game the 76ers lost – and he is listed as questionable for the showdown in Miami.
The Sixers have won both clashes against the Heat so far this season – both in Philadelphia in January.
Embiid (45 pts, 16 reb) was unstoppable in a 137-134 overtime victory, while Danny Green (29 pts, 10 reb) hit nine three-pointers. Shake Milton (31 pts, 7 ast) top-scored off the bench and Ben Simmons racked up a low-scoring triple-double in a 125-108 win two days later.
Crucially, though, Butler was absent from both games.
The Heat are 20-15 at home this season (14-19-2 against the line). The Sixers are 20-15 on the road (16-17-2 ATS).
The Embiid factor is so crucial here; the Heat should get up if he doesn’t play.
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