May 21, 2024

Westside People

Complete News World

What we learned from the 76ers' comeback win over the Miami Heat

What we learned from the 76ers' comeback win over the Miami Heat

Written by Mike Vorkunov, Eric Koren, and Tobias Bass

A tale of halftime and excellent play off the bench earned the Philadelphia 76ers a No. 7 seed as they beat the Miami Heat 105-104 in play-in action on Wednesday, setting themselves up to face the New York Knicks on Saturday.

With this loss, the Heat will play with the Chicago Bulls in a win-or-go-home match on Friday for the last place in the NBA qualifiers.

Nicolas Batum had a strong game off the bench, recording a season-high 20 points and five rebounds. Joel Embiid led all scorers with 23 points on 6-of-17 shooting, in addition to 15 rebounds and five assists.

The 76ers went into halftime down 51-39 and were constantly booed by Philadelphia fans as they committed 12 turnovers in the first half and Miami scored 17 of them. Their struggles were based on Miami's zone defense, as eight of Philly's 12 turnovers came against the zone.

At the start of the second half, Philadelphia started pressing more defensively and relying on their bench, and Miami had very few answers. They kept the game close thanks to heroics from Bam Adebayo and Tyler Herro, but the 76ers' momentum was too much to overcome. Philly's substitutes scored 36 points and Batum made a pivotal block on Herro late in the fourth quarter to seal the game.

What this win means for Philadelphia

Not only did the Sixers win the Play-In Tournament, they won the game that mattered the most. This puts them in the playoffs as the No. 7 seed, which is huge because it allows them to avoid the Celtics in the first round. The Knicks will undoubtedly be a tough matchup, but they are not the Celtics, who were the undisputed behemoth of the regular season. They have to take a train to New York and back over the next two weeks or so in what could be a coin-operated first-round matchup.

See also  Minneapolis added as host location for Big Ten basketball tournaments

This was a great comeback for the Sixers. They detect heat in real time. Nothing embodies that like Embiid, who struggled early and then took over late. Clutch buckets and a huge assist by Kelly Oubre Jr. late in the fourth quarter helped seal the win. — Mike Vorkunov, NBA and basketball staff writer

Can Miami put together another Cinderella run?

The Heat have the 28th-ranked offense in the league this year, a major warning sign about the team's ability to execute throughout a slow-paced playoff game. Miami built a 12-point lead thanks to a tough zone defense that stunned the 76ers and created easy chances on turnovers. Once Philadelphia adjusted, Miami couldn't put up enough points. Unlike Herro, Miami had almost no offensive build-up, which allowed Philadelphia to get the better of them in the end.

The Heat will play the Bulls on Friday evening in Miami, with the winner moving on to play with the Boston Celtics in the first round. However, Jimmy Butler appeared to be hurt at the end of the first quarter when Oubre fouled him in transition, and Terry Rozier, the speedy guard who was drafted in January for Kyle Lowry, has missed five straight games with a neck injury. Butler barely moved during some of Miami's late possessions, shooting 5-for-18 on the night. Butler said after the game that he would undergo an MRI on his knee on Thursday, adding that his condition was very limited as the game went on and he felt as though he was hurting the Heat more than helping them. If Butler is compromised and Rozier is unavailable, the Heat will need a little magic to get to the playoffs. -Eric Koren, Raptors staff writer

You can buy tickets for every NBA game here.

See also  'Cause for anger' - Novak Djokovic coach Ivanisevic prays for fans to support Rafael Nadal at French Open

Required reading

(Photo: Jesse D. Garrabrant/Getty Images)