Sixers vs. Heat: How to watch, betting preview & predictions

Sixers embiid
Philadelphia 76ers’ Joel Embiid dribbles down the court during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Oklahoma City Thunder, Tuesday, April 2, 2024, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

The Philadelphia 76ers are in Miami on Thursday night to take on the Miami Heat in a game that has huge playoff implications for both teams. Currently, the Heat are in 6th place in the Eastern Conference, just one and a half games ahead of the Sixers and tied with the Pacers.

Philadelphia needs to win and try to secure the sixth seed to avoid the play-in tournament, while the Heat are looking to put some distance between themselves, the Pacers, and the Sixers.

Sixers game information

Who: Philadelphia 76ers (41-35) at Miami Heat (42-33)

When: 7:30 pm EST

Where: Kaseya Center, Miami FL

Watch: NBC Sports Network, NBA League Pass, Bally Sports SUN

Sixers vs Heat betting information

Spread: Sixers +2 | Heat -2
Moneyline: Sixers +130 | Heat -110
Total: Over/Under 209

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Latest on the Sixers

Sixers embiid
Philadelphia 76ers’ Joel Embiid, left, tries to get past Oklahoma City Thunder’s Jaylin Williams during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Tuesday, April 2, 2024, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

The Sixers have won two games in a row coming into Miami, and that’s not even the good news. On Tuesday night, the win over the Thunder, 109-105, saw Joel Embiid return to the court for the first time since injuring his knee on January 30th. It was a huge lift for the team and its fans at home against the top team in the Western Conference. In just 29 minutes had 24 points, 6 rebounds, and 7 assists. While he was visibly gassed at points in the game, the good news was that Embiid was back on the court.

While Embiid was a huge addition for the Sixers, they’ve been missing guard Tyrese Maxey for their last two games as he’s battling a hip issue. It’s not a surprise to see Maxey wearing down as he’s played almost 40 minutes per game over the last ten games, and it’s toward the end of a long season. The Sixers need Maxey and Embiid both healthy if they’re going to have any chance of making some noise in the playoffs this season.

Tonight, the Sixers have Embiid, Maxey, and Tobias Harris all listed as questionable, but all three participated in the team’s shootaround this morning. One player who did not was Mo Bamba. The Sixers will need all hands on deck on Thursday as they desperately try to avoid the play-in tournament.

Latest on the Heat

Miami Heat forward Jimmy Butler (22) attempts a 3-pointer as New York Knicks guard Josh Hart (3) defends during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Tuesday, April 2, 2024, in Miami. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

The Heat, just two season ago, finished in first place in the Eastern Conference and were looked as as being a top seed for the next few years. The talk was that they would be competing for a championship and sitting atop the East with the Celtics. Yet, two seasons later and they’re just a mid-level team in a conference that is filled with them.

While Jimmy Butler is the star and leader of the Heat, he isn’t doing anything extraordinary to lead them past what’s currently a 6th seed in the conference. His stat line is almost identical to Tyler Herro, who’s out with a foot injury. For all of the “dog” mentality and his desire to do anything it takes to win, this is who Butler is.

He’s currently 35th in the league in scoring, and while most people will talk about all that he brings to the table, it’s hard to find. Everyone above him has similar or better stat lines and yet he’s regarded as a great in the game. If the intangibles meant so much, then his team would be much better, and they’re not.

The Heat will need every bit of performance from Butler, Bam Adebayo, Terry Rozier, Nikola Jovic, and Duncan Robinson if they’re going to get past the Sixers. While they’ve been winning games, there’s uncertainty as to what you’re going to get from the Heat, and this game will be no different.

What to watch for

Philadelphia 76ers’ Kelly Oubre Jr., center, goes up for a shot against Miami Heat’s Nikola Jovic (5) and Miami Heat’s Bam Adebayo (13) during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Wednesday, Feb. 14, 2024, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

Much was made regarding the return of Embiid, how the Sixers handled his listing on the injury report, and his actually playing and looking out of shape. For a guy who hasn’t played in over two months and had a knee operation, Embiid did just fine.

What they’ll need is to watch his minutes while getting him quality time on the floor, as he needs to build some rapport with the team as they head toward the playoffs. With Maxey and Harris both questionable as well, tonight may not be the game to run Embiid out there for 30-35 minutes.

The Sixers do need to win the game against the Heat, and players like Kelly Oubre Jr., Buddy Hield, Cam Payne, and former Heat player Kyle Lowry will have to step up no matter which of the team’s three stars are on the court. If they lose tonight, they’ll be virtually assuring themselves of the play-in tournament and, if they win that, more than likely an opening round series against the Bucks.

With the way the Eastern Conference has been this season, with the exception of Boston, there’s no telling who’s going to finish where in the conference. What is known is that the Sixers would be served best by aiming for the 6th seed.


Sixers 113 – Heat 109