The Miami Heat look to even their opening round playoff series against the Philadelphia 76ers on Saturday in South Beach. The 76ers took a 2-1 series lead Thursday by defeating the Heat, 128-108. Both teams have now won a game on the road in this series, and Philadelphia has now taken back control of home court advantage.
Both teams looked to be evenly matched in the first two games, but the return of Sixers star, Joel Embiid, proved to be too much for the Heat in game 3. Heat head coach, Erik Spoelstra, now must come up with a game plan to try to stop Embiid after his unexpected return to the series. The Miami Heat are +3 as the underdogs at home against the Philadelphia 76ers on Saturday.
Embiid’s Return Gives the Sixers a Spark
Joel Embiid has been lobbying to make his return, and he finally got his wish in game 3. Embiid returned in a big way, scoring a team high 23 points while also playing 30 minutes. With Embiid back in the mix, the Sixers looked like the team that rattled off 17 straight victories. The presence of Joel Embiid will make the offense continue to run more efficiently in game 4.
Rookie Ben Simmons had another stellar performance in game 3 as well. Simmons finished with 19 points, 12 rebounds, and 7 assists in leading the offense to a whopping 128 points. Simmons and Embiid take pressure off of the Sixers shooters, and Philadelphia shot 52% from the 3 point line. Their high powered offense looks to steal another road game on Saturday.
Heat Must Win Game 4
The Miami Heat are now faced with a near must win situation in game 4. The Heat can’t afford to go down 3-1 in this series and expect to bounce back. The Heat got strong performances from both Goran Dragic and Justise Winslow in game 3, but it wasn’t enough. Veteran, Dwayne Wade, was unable to turn in another heroic performance, and finished with just 8 points on 2-10 shooting.
Hassan Whiteside continues to be a no-show for the Miami Heat. Whiteside played just 13 minutes in game 3, and took only 1 field goal attempt. With Embiid returning for the Sixers, Whiteside must have a great game 4 if the Heat want to win. Look for the Heat to try to slow the game down in hopes of containing the explosive Sixers.
Sixers Take Control of the Series
Miami got physical with the Sixers in game 2, but in game 3 they simply couldn’t keep up with them. Coach Spoelstra will make adjustments for game 4, but he lacks the weapons to stay with the Sixers. Dwayne Wade will do his best to even up the series, but Miami is still desperately needing a strong game from Whiteside.
Joel Embiid’s return takes the Philadelphia 76ers to a whole new level. Philadelphia was able to hold serve without him, but now look to seize control of the series. Ben Simmons simply can’t be stopped, and the Sixers offense is too explosive to lose another game in this series. Bet on the Philadelphia 76ers -3 over the Miami Heat on Saturday.