- Joel Embiid returned to the 76ers lineup on Friday, helping to earn them their first win of the series.
- The Heat will try and avoid letting the series return to a tie after taking a 2-0 lead in Miami.
- The Heat are 8-6 against the 76ers since 2019.
Joel Embiid returned to action after suffering a face injury in Game 6 of the previous series. After going down 2-0 in the series without him, the 76ers welcomed his return, plastic mask and all.
The Heat got a major wake-up call on Friday. After winning the first two games in the series by a combined 30 points, Miami got rocked by Philly’s rejuvenated defense. They scored only 79 points, despite getting 33 points from star forward Jimmy Butler.
Miami Heat vs Philadelphia 76ers Schedule
- When: Sunday, May 8 2022 at 8:00 p.m ET
- Where: Wells Fargo Center, Philadelphia, PA
- How to Watch: TNT
Heat Smacked by Heat Check
The Heat had no trouble getting past the 76ers in the first two games of the series. They won those two matchups in Miami by 14 and 16 points. They scored an average of 112 points in those games as well. Going on the road to Philadelphia for Game 3 held an extra challenge, however. 76ers star center and MVP candidate, Joel Embiid, returned to their lineup. The Heat had a very difficult time scoring with Embiid’s presence returned to the paint, managing to score just 79 points.
What’s most concerning about the Heat’s lack of offense against the 76ers is the lack of support for Jimmy Butler. Scoring 33 points and grabbing 9 rebounds, Butler managed to put up a typical strong performance. His +/- differential finished at -4. The rest of the starting lineup managed to score only 22 points combined. Their differential combined for -61, an extremely concerning number. The Heat needs a bounce-back across the board, especially from point guard Kyle Lowry, who finished with 0 points.
76ers Triumphant in Embiid’s Return
The 76ers have a very talented roster. Starters James Harden, Draymond Green, Tobias Harris, and Tyrese Maxey should be able to compete with anyone in the league. Unfortunately for Philadelphia, this hadn’t been the case in their two bad losses in Miami. The 76ers lost by double digits in both matchups, struggling to stay competitive against a surging Heat team. That changed when their star center Joel Embiid returned to the mix.
After injuring his face in Game 6 against the Raptors, Embiid returned to the starting lineup for the 76ers first home game of the series against the Heat. Embiid had a solid statistical performance, but nothing mind-blowing, finishing with 18 points and 11 rebounds. That being said, statistics don’t always tell the whole story. The Heat were visibly rattled by Embiid’s presence in the paint and fumbled their way to a 79-point game. This resulted in a much-needed and dominant 20-point victory for the 76ers. They’ll need much of the same in Game 4 to knot the series back up.
Heat vs 76ers Prediction & Pick
The Heat dominated the 76ers in their first two matchups. However, with Joel Embiid returning from injury, the 76ers appear to be the better team. The biggest issue facing the Heat is their lack of depth. This flaw should prove to be glaring against a defensively gifted team like the 76ers. I think Philly takes the game and the momentum, tying the series back up at 2-2 before heading back to Miami for Game 5.
76ers 104, Heat 95