NBA: 76ers Edge Out Heat 105-104 To Advance To Playoffs

The Philadelphia 76ers were able to just edge out the Miami Heat in the NBA Play-In Tournament, 105-104, to secure the 7th seed in the playoffs. 

With the win, the 76ers earned a chance to play the second-seeded New York Knicks in the opening round of the Eastern Conference playoffs. The series will begin on Saturday at Madison Square Garden. 

The Miami Heat will have one more shot at making the playoffs, as they take on the Chicago Bulls on Friday at home for the 8th seed.

The reigning MVP Joel Embiid had 23 points, 15 rebounds which included a number of clutch baskets down the stretch. Nicolas Batum added a very important 20 points, making six big three-pointers on a night that the 76er’s offense wasn’t clicking.

Tyrese Maxey, who had 19 points on 6-16 shooting, had an off night but was still able to contribute with 6 assists. 

For the Heat, Tyler Herro led the team in scoring with 25 points but needed 27 shots. Jimmy Butler had 19 to go along with 5 assists and 5 steals but slipped and appeared to tweak his right knee, towards the end of the game  Butler said he would need an MRI on Thursday.

Game Summary

The game got off to a tight start, with both teams feeling each other out in the first quarter. It wasn’t until the second that the Heat were able to pull away and open up a significant lead. By halftime, the Heat had built a 10-point lead and looked to be in control of the matchup.

The 76ers rallied in the third behind Batum who hit three 3s in the quarter, putting the Sixers within one possession. The Heat however were able to hold Philadelphia off each time they made a push taking a 74-69 lead into the fourth.

Embiid finally made his mark on the game in the 4th, burying a 3-pointer from the top of the arc with 2:33 left in the game to give his team a 93-91 lead. After the Sixers gave up the lead, Embiid once again hit a clutch three-point play to take back the lead, 96-94.

With the game tied 96-all, Miami’s Tyler Herro made a silly turnover, getting called for a backcourt violation. Embiid took full advantage of the slip-up, finding Oubre under a quick bucket and a free throw.

From there, the Sixers finished the game off from the charity stripe, hitting their last six free throws to seal the victory. 

Bulls Beat Hawks in Chicago To Setup Meeting With Heat

The Chicago Bulls came out winners in the 9th seed vs 10th seed matchup in the play-in tournament to earn themselves a meeting with the Heat on Friday. The high scoring affair ended 131-116, as the Bulls shot a whopping 56.8% from the field.

Coby White had a career-night, scoring 42 points on 15-21 shooting to go with 9 rebounds and 6 assists. Demar DeRozan and Nikola Vucevic chipped in with 22 and 24 respectively, while Ayo

Dosunmu had 19.

The Hawk’s Dejounte Murray had 30 to lead his team in points and Trae Young and Bogan Bogdanovic were able to get 20+ as well. Clint Capella was a force in the paint with 22 points and 17 rebounds.

The Bulls got off to an extremely hot start, ending the first with an 18 point lead at 40-22. They closed the quarter with a 16-2 run in which Trae Young committed 5 costly turnovers. 

The Hawks got back into the game however, with 14 straight points to begin the second quarter. The Bulls slowly chipped away from there, bringing the lead back 58-44. A push at the end sent the teams into the locker room 73-67 in favor of the Bulls.

The game got even closer in the third, before Vucevic nailed a three with 4:59 left quarter to kick off a 17-2 run. From there the Bulls never looked back, cracking the game wide open and eventually finishing without much trouble in the fourth.

Chicago will be in Miami on Friday for a shot at the No. 8 seed in the East which would get them a first-round matchup with Boston.