The Miami Heat visit the Philadelphia 76ers on Friday night for Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals at 7:00pm as they seek a commanding 3-0 series lead.
We’ve seen enough of both teams head to head to have a good idea of what tonight’s matchup will look like, but injuries have been just as big of a factor in the Heat’s relatively comfortable double-digit wins in both games at the FTX Arena to begin the series. Miami is listing Kyle Lowry as questionable for tonight’s game after missing four consecutive games with a hamstring injury he suffered in Game 3 against the Atlanta Hawks on April 22 and he has travelled with the team. Gabe Vincent has started in his place while the Heat have gone 4-0 in his absence.
Miami has listed several other players as questionable for tonight’s game, but they are widely expected to play.
In contrast, Joel Embiid continues to be listed by Philly as out for Game 3, though his status could conceivably change at some point before today’s tip-off but it’s difficult to see that happening so quickly. Not only is he recovering from an orbital fracture sustained against the Toronto Raptors in the closing moments of their first round series, but he will need to clear the NBA’s concussion protocols first — something that Sixers coach Doc Rivers admitted after Game 2 that he wasn’t sure if his All-Star center had been able to complete any of that at the time. The MVP candidate was already playing with a damaged thumb ligament that will likely require surgery in the offseason.
Without him anchoring the middle, Miami’s defense has so far been able to contain James Harden and Tyrese Maxey enough to keep them from exploding offensively while also keeping the rest of their shooters largely in check. Maxey has easily been their best player while Harden has shown he can hit the occasional tough shot through the first two games, but his conditioning and overall fitness coupled with the Heat’s defense doesn’t exactly inspire confidence he will have huge games in Philadelphia — but his pure talent alone will always make him a legit threat to do so.
Harden ranks third among all NBA players in the postseason with 9.4 assists but he hasn’t been an effective playmaker orchestrating their offense smoothly and consistently. The only other Sixers player that has played well so far in this series has been Tobias Harris, but like Harden and Maxey it’s only happened in short bursts of play instead of a sustained effort that could truly counter the Heat’s offensive onslaught.
Eastern Conference Finals Schedule
|Game 1||Tuesday, May 17||Boston @ Miami||8:30 p.m. ET||ESPN|
|Game 2||Thursday, May 19||Boston @ Miami||8:30 p.m. ET||ESPN|
|Game 3||Saturday, May 21||Miami @ Boston||8:30 p.m. ET||ABC|
|Game 4||Monday, May 23||Miami @ Boston||8:30 p.m. ET||ABC|
|Game 5*||Wednesday, May 25||Boston @ Miami||8:30 p.m. ET||ESPN|
|Game 6*||Friday, May 27||Miami @ Boston||8:30 p.m. ET||ESPN|
|Game 7*||Sunday, May 29||Boston @ Miami||8:30 p.m. ET||ESPN|
- Kyle Lowry: questionable (hamstring)
- Gabe Vincent: questionable (knee)
- PJ Tucker: questionable (calf)
- Caleb Martin: questionable (ankle)
- Tyler Herro: questionable (ankle)
- Max Strus: questionable (hamstring)
- Joel Embiid: out (concussion)
|Reggie Jackson||PG||Kyle Lowry|
|Paul George||SG||Tyler Herro|
|Kawhi Leonard||SF||Jimmy Butler|
|Marcus Morris Sr.||PF||Caleb Martin|
|Ivica Zubac||C||Bam Adebayo|
The Heat are a -3 on the spread while the over/under is at 210. The complete odds can be found at DraftKings.
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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