76ers Heat Series Preview

By: Kylan Watson

The Philadelphia 76ers and Miami Heat will renew their rivalry once again in the second round of the NBA Playoffs. The series starts tomorrow night, during the regular season both of these teams won two games each. These teams’ matchup really well, but if the Sixers want to come out on top, they will need to play better perimeter defense and make their shots.

Both teams are coming into this series pretty banged up. Joel Embiid will miss tomorrow’s game and possibly more than that with an orbital fracture and concussion. Miami also is dealing with injuries to their two biggest stars with Kyle Lowry having a hamstring strain and Jimmy Butler dealing with a sore right knee. Philly is experiencing the bigger loss missing their All-Star and MVP frontrunner. They will need to find a way to get points from someone else.

The X-factor in this series for Philly will be James Harden. He will now get all the attention from Miami’s defenders. Now that they do not have to worry about Embiid, making them pay for playing too aggressive on the defensive end. Harden will need to make Miami pay for bad defensive play and let the game come to him. He needs to find a way to keep the offense going no matter what. Philly may struggle with keeping up with Miami and to counteract that Harden will need to find his teammates in their sweet spot like he did in the previous series against Toronto. He will also have to be better on defense. Without Embiid to make up for their mistakes they will need to play better team defense to stifle the explosive offense of the Heat. Philly cannot be late on defensive assignments and leave Miami’s shooters on an island to hoist up wide-open threes. They need to make sure Miami earns everything on the offensive end.

Without Joel Embiid, Bam Adebayo becomes even more of a factor in this series than he would if he were healthy. He will get free reign to attack the basket and be able to be a center fielder on the defensive end. Since Philly has no other big man who can really take him away from the basket. The Sixers will need to make him work on the defensive end, so he is not as effective on the offensive end. If Adebayo is dominant in this series and that takes defenders off of the perimeter. That is a recipe for disaster for the Sixers and could lead to Miami beating them in five games.

This will be a great and tough series for both teams. These are two evenly matched team when healthy. All four of their regular season games were close and if either team hits their stride, it could be a long night for the other one. The Sixers will need to find as many ways to put the ball in the basket as possible if they want to keep the Heat down and move on to their first Eastern Conference Championship game in the Joel Embiid era.

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