Philadelphia got straight-up embarrassed by the Boston Celtics on Saturday night, plain and simple. Their chemistry looked off as the Celtics were hitting what felt like nearly every shot. And now, they face a challenge in the Miami Heat in Miami, where the Heat have only lost three games this season.
The 76ers have to shake off their Super Bowl partying from last night and come out ready to play a tough matchup Monday night on prime time television.
Philadelphia (31-19) looks to inch toward Miami (33-15) in the standings at 7:30 pm tonight. You can catch the game on NBC Sports Philadelphia with coverage starting at 7 PM.
The Sixers are 2.5-point underdogs with the over/under set at 211.5.
OUT: Josh Richardson (left hamstring strain)
OUT: Justise Winslow (lower back bone bruise)
Key to the Game:
Get Back to Normal
It’s no secret that defense is this team’s strength so far this season. Their 105.4 defensive rating is fourth-best in the NBA. Their defensive rating in their wins is 101.7, also fourth-best in the NBA. However, over their last ten games, the Sixers are allowing their opponents to score an average of 113.1 points per game, while only scoring 104.9 of their own.
Their offense is playing at a typical pace as of late despite all of their injuries. However, their defense is lacking, and chemistry on switches seems to have gone array. Once their protection of the basket has started to slack, it makes it easier for fans to pick apart their lack of scoring, which also isn’t necessarily false.
It seems like on the road the Sixers change up their style of play, and just begin to chuck up three-pointers. Even though they only average one extra three-point attempt per game on the road compared to at home, they are missing about two, on average, more threes while away.
Philly just needs to utilize their big lineup and bully the Heat in the paint. Let Joel and Ben thrive down low, and don’t try to get fancy. The Heat are a tough team to beat and have some guys who are great in the clutch (i.e Jimmy Butler). The Sixers are the better team overall though and will need to beat the Heat without former Miami guy Josh Richardson tonight. The way to do it?
Bring back bully ball.
If I were a betting man, it would be tough to pick the Sixers in this game. Miami is beyond good on their home court, and Philly is, as we all know, terrible on the road.
However, Philadelphia looked pretty good back in December, when they lost in OT by a single point in Miami. That was one of the limited games that Philly had their starting five all play together, but this one could still slip into the Sixers’ hands.
It won’t be easy, but it will sure be entertaining. Sixers win 106-101.
Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports