The Miami Heat are hoping to put behind them a disappointing loss against the Cleveland Cavaliers as they visit the Philadelphia 76ers (15-13).
The Heat and Sixers are right in the middle of the crowded and deep Eastern Conference. And this matchup has always been an intriguing one. The first note of business is the availability of Joel Embiid, who sat out the last game due to rib soreness. He nearly played that game, in fact, he warmed up with the intention to but didn’t. It’s likely that he does return and play in this game.
And without Bam Adebayo to cause any problems, the Heat could be in trouble. Embiid is a master at drawing fouls against his opponent. So if Dedmon gets in trouble, the Heat would have to turn to Omer Yurtseven, and I’m not sure he is ready for that challenge. PJ Tucker would be severely oversized. The Heat need to avoid Embiid parading to the foul line.
Outside of that, Miami matches up well against them. Maxey will be a tough cover because he’s so fast, but the Heat makes up for that with help defense and the NBA leading charges taken.
Miami, without several key players (see below) is living and dying by the three-ball. Against Milwaukee and Chicago, it went well. But against Cleveland, it didn’t drop at the rate they needed. The Heat needs to shoot the ball well in order to win. And don’t be surprised to see zone defense against this Philly squad.
The Heat have 9 games left in 2021 and only two of them (PHI and WAS) are against teams above .500— Matt Pineda (@pinedaHEAT) December 14, 2021
If the Heat can get somewhat healthier (like get Jimmy back), they should be in a good place to start 2022.
The KEY MATCHUP is going to be Tobias Harris vs PJ Tucker. I think Tucker is going to play that match-up really well, and if the Heat can limit him as a scoring threat, it should make things a lot harder for Philly. On the other end, Tobias will have to work to box out and limit help defense for Tucker’s corner threes.
ODDS: FiveThirtyEight gives the Heat a 22% chance to win the game.
HEAT VS SIXERS: WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 15 AT 7:00 P.M.
- Victor Oladipo - out (knee; surgery rehab)
- Markieff Morris - out (whiplash)
- Bam Adebayo - out (thumb surgery recovery)
- Jimmy Butler - out (tailbone)
- Caleb Martin - out (Health & Safety Protocol)
- Tyler Herro - questionable (quad)
- Ben Simmons - out (personal reasons)
- Grant Riller - out (shoulder)
- Jaden Springer - out (concussion protocol)
- Seth Curry - questionable (shoulder)
- Joel Embiid - questionable (ribs)
|Marcus Smart||PG||Kyle Lowry|
|Jaylen Brown||SG||Max Strus|
|Jayson Tatum||SF||Jimmy Butler|
|Al Horford||PF||PJ Tucker|
|Robert Williams III||C||Bam Adebayo|
TV: Bally Sports Sun, NBA League Pass
RADIO: The Ticket 790AM & The HEAT Radio Network (Jason Jackson, Ruth Riley Hunter)
SPANISH RADIO: WAQI 710AM & The HEAT Spanish Radio Network (José Pañeda, Joe Pujala)
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