Game preview: Can the Sixers ‘heat’ up after a gutwrenching loss to the Celtics?

Note: if you purchase something through one of our affiliate links, Schneps Media may earn a commission.
Philadelphia 76ers’ James Harden goes up for a shot during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Memphis Grizzlies, Thursday, Feb. 23, 2023, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

The Sixers are coming into their home-and-home series with the Heat having lost a heartbreaker to the Celtics, 110-107, on Saturday. Joel Embiid’s 3/4 court shot didn’t count as he released it just after the clock expired in what was a gut-wrenching defeat. Can they get back on track against the struggling Heat?

Heat vs Sixers game info

Who: Miami Heat vs Philadelphia 76ers
Where: Wells Fargo Center, Philadelphia
When: Monday February 27th, 7pm EST
How to watch: TNT/NBA TV

Heat vs Sixers betting info

Spread: Sixers -6.5 | Heat +6.5
Moneyline: Sixers -250 | Heat +210

Eye on the Sixers:

Embiid played well on Saturday with 41 points, 12 rebounds, 5 assists, and 3 blocked shots. Even on a poor shooting night against the Grizzlies, Embiid finished with 27 points, 19 rebounds, 6 assists, and 6 blocks. It seems as though he’s taking the MVP disrespect personally this year.

After a great game against the Grizzlies, James Harden had a “poor” game by his standards with 21 points, 6 rebounds, and 8 assists, against the Celtics. The night was bad for Harden as he only shot 5-16 from the field which is well below his 45.2% from the field, on the season.

What the Sixers need is for guards Tyrese Maxey and DeAnthony Melton to get on the right track. The two are splitting time, each getting 25 minutes against the Celtics, while each of the other starters were over 38 minutes for the game. Maxey has not been great in the 6th man role that Doc Rivers seems to have relegated him to. His stats and general play are elevated when starting, but he continues to be used sparingly.

The Sixers are going to need the best of Maxey if they want to advance in the playoffs this season and against a reeling Heat team, this is the perfect time for him to break out.

Eye on the Heat:

The Heat are coming into Philadelphia having lost their last four games to the Nuggets, Nets, Bucks, and even the lovely Hornets. Prior to the Season, the Heat were considered to be one of the top teams in the Eastern Conference. With Jimmy Butler, Kyle Lowery, Bam Adebayo, Victor Oladipo, and Tyler Herro, the team was thought to be good enough and well-rounded enough that they would easily be at the top of the standings. That hasn’t been the case. They’re currently in 7th place in the Eastern Conference and only 2.5 games above the Toronto Raptors from being out of the playoff picture altogether.

Guard Jimmy Butler, never one to hold back, is frustrated.

I’m tired of losing,” forward Jimmy Butler said…

“I don’t think anybody in here wants to lose,” Butler said as he stood in front of his locker following Saturday’s loss in Charlotte. “We’ve got to figure this out very, very quickly.”

Butler is averaging 21.9 points, 5.8 rebounds, and 5.0 assists as the leader of the Heat squad that features three players all averaging more than 20 points per game. Bam Adebayo is averaging 21.4 points and guard Tyler Herro is averaging 20.7 points per game. Even with seven players averaging double-digit points and point guard Gabe Vincent averaging 9.7 points, the Heat haven’t been able to put it together and seem to have lost some of the edge and play that had everyone singing their praises prior to the season.

If the Heat are going to maintain their playoff pace and look to improve before the start of the post-season they’re going to have to get it together soon. It seems like catching the Sixers, after the tough loss to the Celtics, is probably not their best chance to do so. The game will be tough, the Heat and Butler specifically, will be playing hard and looking to top one of the top teams in the league, it just won’t be enough.

Heat vs Sixers betting offers

Prediction: Sixers 121 – Heat 113

AP Photo/Matt Slocum