The playoffs are underway and the daily preview takes it to the rim with NBA tips for Game 2 of the Semi-final series between East rivals Miami Heat and the shorthanded Philadelphia 76ers.
09:30 (AEST), Thu 5th May @ FTX Arena, Miami
History: Played 142: Heat 73 V 76ers 69
Last meeting: May 3, 2022: Heat 106 d 76ers 92 at FTX Arena
Final Thoughts: Miami Heat are looking to ram home the advantage against a Philadelphia 76ers outfit reeling from an injury to their most important player.
The Sixers’ 132-97 Game 6 blowout win over the Raptors to seal their First Round series may ultimately be where their Championship hopes ended. Big man Joel Embiid – who averages 30.6 points and 11.7 rebounds this season – suffered a concussion and facial fracture late in that game and missed the opener against the Heat.
The top-seeded Heat, who accounted for the Hawks in five games, cruised to a 106-92 Game 1 victory courtesy of a dominant second half. The NBA’s preeminent sixth man Tyler Herro (25 pts, 7 ast) top-scored, while Bam Adebayo (24 pts, 12 reb, 4 ast, 2 stl) was an all-round beast for Miami. Jimmy Butler (15 pts, 9 reb, 3 ast, 2 stl) chipped in.
Tobias Harris (27 pts, 6 reb) picked up some of the scoring load for the 76ers. James Harden (16 pts, 5-of-13 FGM, 9 reb, 5 ast, 5 TO) came in for a barrage of criticism for struggling to step into marquee man role, while Tyrese Maxey (19 pts, 6-of-15 FGM) failed to light it up. Starting big man DeAndre Jordan had just 4 points and 2 rebounds in 17 minutes on the floor, rotating with Paul Millsap and Paul Reed who didn’t do much more.
The Sixers are now 6-10 without Embiid this season. Doc Rivers is hopeful he’ll be back to face the Heat at some stage. But it won’t be Game 2, and by the time Embiid returns it could be too late.
Miami are now on a six-game winning streak at home, with an average margin of 17.8 points. The Heat are just $1.24 to go 2-0 up, giving away 8.5 points at the line. Short of Harden exploding, it’s hard to envisage the Sixers not getting blown out again. The Heat’s defence conceding only 97.6 points on average in their last five games and should spearhead another comfortable W.
Best Bet: Handicap – Heat -8.5 @ $1.90