76ers Try to Stay Alive
The Miami Heat do not need to kick down the doors of the Well Fargo Center. They do not need to start fast or embarrass the Philadelphia 76ers on their own court. Miami just needs to outlast the weary Sixers. The top-seeded Heat enter Philadelphia as slight underdogs in Thursday’s Game 6, but per our Heat vs 76ers betting analysis, they should be favored.
Other than Game 3, the Heat have slowly but steadily ground down the 76ers. Whether they tire them out in a firefight or melt the clock away, Miami has usually come out on top. Even without point guard Kyle Lowry, the Heat have managed to outwork the Sixers by constantly putting them on the defensive.
Led by Jimmy Butler, the Heat have attacked a hobbled Joel Embiid and forced Philadelphia’s defenders to chase them around the perimeter. Even when Miami lost Game 4 of the Eastern Conference semifinals, the Sixers were so depleted that they did not even show up for Game 5. Embiid is still hurting and James Harden, after a brief renaissance in Game 4, has become a ghost again. Miami is on the cusp of another trip to the NBA conference finals.
- Team records: Miami Heat (53-29, first seed in East); Philadelphia 76ers (51-31, fourth seed in East).
- Date: Thursday, 7 p.m. ET
- Television/live stream: TNT
- Location: Wells Fargo Center, Philadelphia
76ers Running Out of Gas
Maybe it was just one game for the Philadelphia 76ers. The team got whipped in Miami in Game 5. Maybe Harden went to one too many strip clubs. Maybe Joel Embiid made a business decision to not go full force due to his injuries. Whatever the case, the Sixers are back at home and can’t afford to be slack.
Neutralizing Butler seems to be the first order of business for our Heat vs Sixers betting analysis. But in five games, the Sixers have not shown the ability to do that, especially when their best defender is a liability on offense. Speaking of the offense, the Sixers need for Harden to channel some of his Game 4 energy. Because if he’s not balling this way, he’s hurting the team.
Harden has not shot better than 40 percent in four of the five games against the Heat. In fact, he’s only shot better than 40 percent in three playoff games — all victories for Philadelphia. The home fans won’t let their team come out with the same lack of energy they did for Game 5. The Sixers are 7-1 in their last eight home games. They need to find a second gear or they are cooked.
How Hurt is Embiid?
The two-time MVP runner-up has been battling myriad injuries in the playoffs most notably to his face and finger. Though he returned in Game 3, it’s evident that he isn’t the same unstoppable force that he was during the regular season. Embiid is still posting a respectable average in three games: 19.7 points, nine rebounds, and a 51.4 percent field goal rate.
More importantly, Embiid has helped contain Miami star big man Bam Adebayo. The 6-foot-9 center was unstoppable in Games 1 and 2, scoring 23.5 points on 71.4 percent shooting. Since Embiid returned, Adebayo has been quiet,averaging 14 points and shooting 53.6 percent.
For the Sixers to beat the Heat, Embiid will need to produce at both ends of the floor. If he can’t on offense, it falls on Harden, Tyrese Maxey and the rest of the Sixers to pick up the slack. If Game 5 was any indication, this piece may as well be a Miami Heat game preview as it will be all Heat on Thursday.
Heat vs 76ers Betting Trends
Defense has been dominant when the Miami Heat and Philadelphia 76ers meet. Seven of their last 10 games have seen the total go under.
Philadelphia has its back against the wall. But the Sixers have won five of their last six home games against the Heat. Additionally, Miami is just 1-4 against the spread (ATS) in its last five road games.
Miami is brimming with offense, but eight of its last 10 games have gone under the total. Credit goes to the relentless defense as Miami has held six of its opponents to under 100 points.
Butler and Embiid have played each other 11 times. Butler’s team has won six of these games, although Embiid has won two of their three playoff meetings even if he was outscored by Butler in all three games.Follow us on Twitter