Wednesday, March 22, 2023
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NBA Preview: Philadelphia Sixers (39-21) Miami Heat (33-29)

What’s in store for his Philadelphia 76ers was perfectly summed up by star guard James Harden.

Starting with their game against the Heat on Wednesday, the 76ers will travel to Miami to play 12 of their 17 March games.

It will be a rematch of Miami’s victory over Philadelphia on Monday, which they won 101-99.

Harden missed a 3-pointer from behind the rim just before the final buzzer and had a chance to win that game.

The close game on Monday was not surprising. In addition, during the 2021–2022 regular season, the teams split four games.

However, the Heat defeated the 76ers in six games in the Eastern Conference semifinals of last year.

Jimmy Butler scored the winning basket for Miami on Monday, spinning between two defenders to make an acrobatic layup with 1:28 remaining.

Butler had a game-high four steals and a close to triple-double at the conclusion: 11 rebounds, 23 points, and 9 assists

Butler has always been the leader of Miami, but the fact that Heat point guard Kyle Lowry has missed nine games in a row because of an injury to his left knee makes him even more significant.

Six-time All-Star Butler played for the 76ers in 55 regular-season games and 12 playoff games in 2018-2019. However, he has been a much better fit for the Heat. He leads Miami in scoring this season with 21.9 points, free throws made per game (8.2), and steals with 2.0.

Bam Adebayo (21.2) and Tyler Herro (20.5) are the other two elite scorers in Miami. However, they were both absent from Monday’s game against the 76ers. Adebayo hit 4-of-14 shots for 13 points. Herro was held to three-for-13 shooting for eight points.

Joel Embiid, the 76ers’ star center, had a game-high 27 points on 10-for-17 shooting and a game-high 12 rebounds, which may have contributed to Adebayo’s performance.

Embiid, who has been an All-Star in each of the past six seasons, had a career-best scoring average of 33.0 points per game going into Tuesday, placing him second in the NBA behind Dallas’ Luka Doncic (33.1). While shooting 53.2 percent from the field and 86.0 percent from the foul line, Embiid also leads the 76ers in rebounds (10.4).

Harden is second on the 76ers in scoring and leads the NBA in assists (10.7). He shoots 39.3% from three-point range and 86.4 percent from the foul line.

Doc Rivers, the 76ers’ coach, is undoubtedly dissatisfied with his team’s current two-game losing streak despite the star duo’s contributions.

Prior to Wednesday’s rematch, Harden stated that he and his teammates would hear from Rivers during a film session.

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