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|Sixers Win Percentage||41%|
|Heat Win Percentage||59%|
|Sixers-Heat Over / Under||209.5|
|Game Date & Time||May 10, 7:30 p.m. ET|
The Sixers and Heat are headed back to Miami for game 5 with the series tied 2-2. While Miami played a much better game Sunday than game 3, clutch shooting from James Harden kept the Heat at arms length from the lead.
Harden turned back the clock with 31 points, 16 of which coming in the 4th quarter. It’s hard to overstate Joel Embiid’s impact since his return. Of course he’s added a much needed scoring and rebound boost to the Sixers, but his effect goes much beyond that.
With him on the court, the Heat’s defensive strategy changes drastically. As Embiid attracts the double (and sometimes triple) teams, he’s done a great job of kicking out to other open players. The Sixers seem to have just a half second longer to get a shot off or drive to the rim. And in the NBA that makes all the difference.
In a surprising twist of reality, Doc Rivers has been praised by Philly fans for his rotations and adjustments in the 2 games since Embiid’s return. The Sixers have done a great job of sustaining Miami’s runs and countering with a run of their own.
I think Doc’s rotations have helped with that by ensuring they don’t have a shortage of scorers on the court at any given time. On the flip side, Heat coach Erik Spoelstra has been getting some pressure from Heat fans to come up with an answer for their poor shooting performances in Philly.
One questionable decision that’s come under fire has been the decision to not play Duncan Robinson at all in the series. The $90 million player certainly has his defensive flaws, but Miami is desperate for an offensive spark outside of Jimmy Butler.
Butler has been the only bright spot in the Heat’s 2 losses. Miami has yet to find a way to get the role players involved in the scoring since the return of Joel Embiid.
As the series heads to Miami, the Heat are once again favored in the game. It also appears oddsmakers are expecting a better shooting performance out of Miami in game 5. The game total is up to 209.5, which is 2.5 points higher than it was Sunday night.
Same with the Heat’s team total, up to 106. Miami knows a loss on their home court puts their backs against the wall. However, a 3 point line tells me that Miami isn’t favored beyond the standard home court advantage line.
Going into this series, the biggest advantage the Heat were said to have was their depth. They typically play 9-10 guys and all of them can contribute on offense. However, coming out of the 2 games in Philly, that just hasn’t been the case.
Miami is not getting many contributions from their role players at all. Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo have contributed most of the scoring with players like Lowry, Strus and Herro ice cold. One could say the home court advantage Tuesday night will elevate those players scoring.
However, it seems like something is clicking for the Sixers on defense that wasn’t there before. Of course Embiid’s presence is a huge factor. But more so than that, the team looks completely bought into the defensive scheme.
Guys like Tobias Harris and Tyrese Maxey are completely locked on the defensive end, somewhat of a surprise for Sixers fans.
To take a saying from the NFL, “Defense Travels.” I think whatever Philly has going on defense will continue in Miami. While we would expect role players to elevate their game, I don’t think it’s wise to rely on Jimmy Butler to keep his elevated scoring levels.
Butler has been known to have breakout games, especially in the playoffs. But, can never be counted on to sustain that for long stretches.
I love the value we’re getting here on the Heat’s team total Using OddsJam, I found under 106.5 at -115 on DraftKings
Pick: Miami Team Total Under 106.5 | -115 at DraftKings
+EV Bonus Prop: Tobias Harris Points, Rebounds, Assists over 25.5 | -108 at FanDuel. The Odds Jam perfect line is -141.
This series has new life. But as they say: The series doesn’t start until one team loses at home. I think that will happen tonight. When asked how the Sixers could keep the momentum going to Miami, Doc Rivers said, “Well, we have Joel Embiid on the plane this time.”
The -3 line is telling me that oddsmakers really see this as a toss up. The Sixers defensive energy and clutch shooting will win out in Miami and send the series back to Philly up 3-2.
Prediction: Sixers 110 – Heat 105
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