Jimmy Butler and the Miami Heat host the Philadelphia 76ers Thursday night. (Photo by Schuler/Imago/Icon Sportswire)
- Two teams chasing playoff seeding in the East clash as the 76ers visit the Heat
- Joel Embiid (illness) listed as questionable for Thursday night
- Get the odds, preview, and pick below
The Philadelphia 76ers failed to clinch the top seed in the Eastern Conference last time out in a loss to Indiana. They’ll get a second crack at it in Miami, against a Heat squad that is turning into the team no one wants to clash with in the postseason.
Miami is also in a logjam in the middle of the playoff pack, where they could end up as high as a 4-seed, or as low as sixth, depending on how they, the Atlanta Hawks and New York Knicks finish off the regular season.
They may get some relief in this one: Joel Embiid didn’t travel with the team to Indiana, and is listed as questionable vs the Heat with a non-COVID illness.
76ers vs Heat Odds
|Team||Spread at FanDuel||Moneyline||Total|
|Philadelphia 76ers||-1.5 (-110)||-120||TBD|
|Miami Heat||+1.5 (-110)||+102||TBD|
Odds as of May 12th. Tip-off is Thursday at 7:30pm ET
Philly Healthier vs Heat
Embiid would be a huge loss, no doubt, but the 76ers will at least be near a full compliment to finally pull away from the nagging Brooklyn Nets.
Guards Shake Milton (knee soreness) and Furkan Korkmaz (right ankle sprain) have been upgraded to probable, while wing Matisse Thybulle remains questionable as he battles an injured left hand. All four were out of action in a loss to the Pacers.
As the Sixers close in on the one seed, it can’t be said enough that Ben Simmons and Tobias Harris deserve so much credit for keeping this team going whenever Embiid has been out. Excellent two-way play from both guys all season long.
— Adam Aaronson (@SixersAdam) May 12, 2021
Not having their MVP was most evident in closing time, as Indiana outscored the Sixers 28-19 to break a 75-75 tie heading into the fourth quarter. That loss snapped an 8-game win streak for Philly, and the 103 points was their lowest output in since a loss to Milwaukee on April 24.
.@BenSimmons25 appreciation tweet(s). pic.twitter.com/5vJKMboweg
— Philadelphia 76ers (@sixers) May 12, 2021
Tobias Harris led the way on offense, putting up 27 points, five rebounds and three assists, while Ben Simmons chipped in with 20 points, eight rebounds and seven assists. With Embiid potentially out, expect Philly to run their offense through their other two stars against Miami.
Miami Peaking at Right Time
The Heat return home after passing the most crucial test of the season with flying colors – taking both ends of a mini-set in Boston against the Celtics. Any stumble and the C’s could have passed Miami, sending the Heat into the play-in.
Jimmy Butler did it ALL for the Heat yesterday, surpassing 55+ FPTS for the second consecutive game.
22 PTS, 11 AST, 8 REB, 2 STL, 55.1 FPTS pic.twitter.com/MESuzK97c8
— NBA Fantasy (@NBAFantasy) May 10, 2021
Now? They’ve reeled off six of their last seven, and have wins in 10 of their last 13, getting in position to claim home court in the first round of the playoffs, if all falls their way.
Jimmy Butler was the driving force in Boston, leading the team with 26 points, 11 assists and eight rebounds to take the first game 130-124, though he missed the second half of the second game after colliding with Marcus Smart and suffering an eye injury. He finished with 13 points.
I asked Duncan Robinson about Bam Adebayo stepping up with Jimmy Butler going out
“Knowing when it’s time for him to be who he is, to be an All-Star and dominate the game offensively.”@5ReasonsSports pic.twitter.com/NQ7TC8Q9j9
— Brady Hawk (@BradyHawk305) May 12, 2021
The rest of the Heat picked up the slack to win 129-121, with co-star Bam Adebayo going for 22 points, seven rebounds and five assists. Tyler Herro came off the bench for 24 points and 11 boards, while Duncan Robinson had 22 on five triples. Goran Dragic had 17 off the bench, and Kendrick Nunn’s 18 made it six Heat players in double digits.
They’ll need that group effort for the postseason, as it was announced Wednesday that Victor Oladipo would be shut down for the rest of the year as he went for surgery on his quadriceps tendon.
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What’s the Best Bet?
This should be a slugfest, featuring two teams tied for fifth in scoring, each allowing 108.1 points a contest, and two NBA Defensive Player of the Year candidates in Simmons and Adebayo. However, something weird happens when these two teams meet, as they’ve hit the over in five straight head-to-heads, while Miami has gone over in 10 straight games.
The 76ers have the best in-conference record at 29-10, including two previous wins over the Heat this season already, but the Embiid uncertainty and Miami’s recent 5-1 ATS run against East foes has me leaning on the home side, showing the top seed what lurks beyond Round 1 in these playoffs.
Pick: Heat ML (+102)
Having worked in and around sports since 1997, Eric is truly a knowledgeable expert. The two-time journalism grad specializes in all things NBA and NFL. From TSN.ca to CTV’s Olympic Broadcast Consortium, Eric’s work has appeared in local and national publications alike.