When and where: April 9, 2018, American Airlines Arena, Miami, FL, 7:30 PM ET
The Philadelphia 76ers go on the road on Tuesday for a head-to-head showdown with the Miami Heat in Eastern Conference NBA action. After suffering three straight losses, the Sixers bounced back with a win over the Chicago Bulls. They’ll try to continue that success against the Heat, who are looking to break a four-game losing streak, including Sunday’s overtime loss to the Toronto Raptors.
Sixers lock down the No. 3 seed
The Sixers cruised to their 50th win of the season on Saturday night against the Bulls and effectively locked up the No. 3 seed in the Eastern Conference standings. It was a significant accomplishment for the team in a year where they took some unnecessary risks with their roster.
It still remains to be seen whether their decision to add Jimmy Butler and Tobias Harris was worth the price of future draft picks, especially if they fail to win an NBA championship. Those were the stakes in mind when the front office pushed for those moves, and anything short of an NBA Finals appearance would be a monumental disappointment.
“In the NBA, when you can have a team that can find 50 wins, [it] is unique and difficult. I give the group credit,” Sixers coach Brett Brown said after the game, per NBA.com. “We’ve gone through a few iterations of what the team looks like. We all understand that the 50-win milestone goes away quickly when the playoffs begin, and that’s what people remember the most. As it sits, to get back-to-back 50-win seasons is a great accomplishment for the players in that locker room.”
Against the Bulls, the Sixers benefitted from center Joel Embiid’s presence on the court. He was dominant down low on both ends of the floor. However, the Bulls’ offensive struggles should be highlighted considering none of their starters scored in double digits. They were also minus-21 on the boards
Embiid finished the game with 20 points, 10 rebounds, five assists and three blocks, while JJ Redick netted a team-high 23 points and five rebounds. Ben Simmons contributed 14 points, four rebounds and four assists in the 116-96 victory.
Wade continues to shine in fourth straight loss
Legendary guard Dwyane Wade is in his final days as an NBA player, and he is steadily turning back the clock with performances like he had in Sunday’s game against the Toronto Raptors. The Heat hosted one of the best teams in the Eastern Conference, and if not for a blown whistle by an official, they might have won the game in the fourth quarter and avoided going into overtime, where they were stomped out on the road by the more talented team.
The referee blew the whistle before handing the ball to Heat guard Dion Waiters to inbound, which prompted the other players to scramble to their spots on the floor. That slight delay ruined the Heat’s play at the end of the quarter and essentially gave the Raptors new life in an extra period.
“You blow the whistle when you hand the ball to somebody when they’re out of bounds, not before,” Heat coach Eric Spoelstra told reporters, via ESPN.com. “That got us moving, into motion, before that. Then it was just sideways from there. It’s very disappointing that that play was allowed to continue. From our vantage point, that was a botched play. You just set it again. That happens a million times during the course of an NBA season.”
The Heat were plus-six on the boards and finished with a 41.0 shooting percentage. Wade was excellent off the bench once again in netting a team-high 21 points, three rebounds and five assists, while Waiters finished with 17 points and four rebounds in the 117-109 loss.
- Heat are 9-3 ATS in their last 12 games against teams in the NBA Atlantic.
- Heat are 8-3-1 ATS in their last 12 games after an ATS loss.
- 76ers are 5-12 ATS in their last 17 when their opponent scores 100 points or more in the previous game
- 76ers are 2-5 ATS in their last 7 games against teams in the Eastern Conference
- 76ers are 3-8 ATS in their last 11 games after a straight up win of more than 10 points
- 76ers are 3-8 ATS in their last 11 when their opponent allows 100 points or more in the previous game
- 76ers are 2-6 ATS in their last 8 games against teams in the NBA Southeast
- 76ers are 2-6 ATS in their last 8 after scoring 100 points or more in the previous game