Close Battle: 76ers edges out Heat 104-105

The Miami Heat and the Philadelphia 76ers faced off in the NBA Play-in Tournament where the winner advances to the Playoffs. The 76ers barely beat the Heat 104-105. The 76ers now advance to play the 2nd seed New York Knicks in the first round of the playoffs while the Miami Heat play the Chicago Bulls in the Play-in Tournament. If the Heat loses then they will be eliminated, and the Bulls will advance to play the 1st seed Celtics.

The 76ers took care of business at the Wells Fargo Center and avoided an elimination game. With 24.7 seconds left in the game, the 76ers were up by five points and the score was 96-101. The Heat creeped their way back into a close game, especially with Tyler Hero hitting a big three pointer with three seconds left. That huge three pointer gave the Heat a score of 104 but the 76ers had possession of the ball with 0.3 seconds left, little time. Some Heat players argued that there should be more time on the clock, but it solved nothing because the game was already over and the 76ers were dancing.

Remember when Jimmy Butler took his emo picture on media day? Well, he did not play too much like an emo because he was locked in and had a solid game. Butler posted 19 points, 4 rebounds, and 5 assists in 40 minutes. Tyler Herro had a solid game, posting 25 points, 2 rebounds, and 9 assists in 41 minutes. Sadly, the emo picture may be relevant more than ever now because Butler is now injured and will miss several weeks.

Let us give credit where it is due, because Jaime Jaquez Junior had a solid game against the 76ers. He had 15 points, 2 assists, and 5 rebounds. The rest of the supporting cast on the Heat put up a great all-around team effort that just barely was not enough.

The Miami Heat may just be done for the season. The Heat may not have what it takes to beat DeMar DeRozan and Nikola Vucevic duo on the Bulls without Butler. The Bulls ended Trae Young and the Atlanta Hawks season in the Play-in Tournament. Even with Butler on the court, it would still be hard to hang with that Bulls squad.

The 76ers are happy to escape the Heat the way they did and leave the Play-in Tournament to the first round of the playoffs. The team’s star Joel Embiid had 23 points, 15 rebounds, and 5 assists in 38 minutes. Just as usual, Embiid was the answer to that game win in crunch time of the game. If that NBA MVP is on the court doing his thing, the 76ers have a chance for a postseason run. With that win, the 76ers now have earned the 7th seed spot against the Knicks in the Eastern Conference playoffs. The two teams will face off in Game 1 at Madison Square Garden. With the Heat’s loss, they will host the Bulls and the winner gets the 8th seed. The winner of that game will play at TD Garden against the Celtics.

76ers head coach Nick Nurse was hired on June 1, 2023. Nurse has some success with his new organization, and reaching the playoffs does not look like a failing season. People questioned this team’s ability to get thus far since superstar James Harden was traded from the 76ers earlier in the season. Even with an injured Joel Embiid who was not at his best in the Play-in Tournament, they still managed to make the playoffs.

After the 76ers beat the heat, Embiid gave a report about his injured knee. “Hopefully every day gets better, we’ll just keep monitoring it,” says Embiid. Embiid has been listed as questionable for every game since returning to the 76ers lineup from his injury. He missed two of his team’s final seven games of the regular season.

Now some of these players put up some good points in that Play-in game, but the ball game was not exactly beautiful. Tyler Herro went 9-for-27. Jimmy Butler went 5-for-18 (most of which came after he suffered a knee injury but kept playing). Joel Embiid went 6-for-17. Tyrese Maxey went 6-for-16.

Can the 76ers get past the 2nd seed Knicks? It is a little difficult to determine if the Knicks can get beat because the 76ers struggled against the Heat. It was only by one point that the 76ers beat the Heat, which was an escape on their own court.

Overall, the Play-in Tournament is about to conclude, and the playoffs will be finalized and under way. The Golden State Warriors are not even in the playoffs because they got eliminated from the Play-in Tournament. Who exactly can win this NBA Finals let alone reach it? It looks wide open this year, and it will be all about the matchups which determine the victors.

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