The Philadelphia 76ers are coming off of back-to-back gut-wrenching losses against two conference rivals. Now, as they begin a five-game road trip, the Sixers are looking to remind the league (if not convince themselves) that they are a contender.
Heat vs. Sixers game info
Who: Philadelphia 76ers (39-21) at Miami Heat (33-29)
Where: Miami-Dade Arena, Miami, FL.
When: 7:30 pm EST
Watch: NBC Sports Philadelphia
Heat vs. Sixers betting info
Spread: Sixers -2 | Heat +2
Moneyline: Sixers -130 | Heat +110
Eye on the Sixers
The Sixers must win tonight’s rematch of Monday’s loss to the Heat. After a tough game against the Grizzlies and then a disheartening loss to the Celtics, Philadelphia seemed poised to take out some frustration on the Heat. That didn’t happen, as the Heat won 101-99.
Guard Tyrese Maxey played well off the bench again on Monday when he finished with 23 points, while James Harden pitched in his usual 20 points, six rebounds, and 12 assists. Joel Embiid finished with 27 points on 10-17 shooting and 12 rebounds. Those three, the big three for the Sixers, did their part. Even with Harden having a poor night shooting, he was able to step up and distribute the ball to his teammates.
Tobias Harris and De’Anthony Melton only combined for 14 points in 64 minutes of play, and that won’t work for the Sixers going forward. Melton has been a reserve for his entire career, having started 55 games over four seasons until this year when head coach Doc Rivers started him 48 games. This has been a failure, despite the team winning. Melton is much better suited to a reserve role, and Maxey thrives when starting and getting lots of minutes with Harden and Embiid on the court.
For some reason, the coach doesn’t want to start Maxey despite seeing that he’s much better suited for a starting role. He proved last season that he’s a starter in the league and that he has trouble commanding an offense and being the sole scoring option on the second unit. It’s too easy for teams to focus on Maxey when you’re putting Georges Niang, Shake Milton, Montrezl Harrell, and Paul Reed on the floor.
The other issue is that Rivers continues to feature all reserve lineups that either cost the Sixers to lose leads or have other teams jump out to even larger ones. It’s a real problem for this Philadelphia team that needs to be corrected right away, or they’ll be looking at another early exit from the playoffs. For a team that was supposed to have so much depth to start the season, they’ve shown zero depth on the court as the second unit is continually run out of the building.
Eye on the Heat
If the Heat are to win again against the Sixers, they really just have to do what they did Monday. Seven players had over twenty minutes, Cody Zeller finished with 16 minutes, and Victor Oladipo had 19 minutes. It was a well-rounded effort from the Heat that saw five players in double-digits in points. Led by Jimmy Butler, his 23 points, 11 rebounds, and nine assists, the Heat were able to overcome the Sixers, hold on, and win the game, albeit with a circus shot from Butler at the end.
Butler wears his emotions on his sleeve, and he’s not one to shy away from a challenge. He seems to have taken it personally that the Sixers traded him and kept Tobias Harris, and he makes sure to show up big for the games against the Sixers. The Sixers have to control Butler if they’re going to have a chance of winning.
Bam Adebayo and newly acquired Kevin Love combined for 21 points and 12 rebounds in the last game. The Sixers have to put bodies in there to defend against those two, or the Heat will pick them apart. With Tyler Herro, Gabe Vincent, Max Strus, and Victor Oladipo, the Heat have a group of players that can put up points and keep the Sixers’ defense on their heels.
The Heat are a good team, but they’re not one that should be pushing the Sixers around. Tonight, we should see a much different matchup as the Sixers will look to avenge Monday’s loss.