Game: Miami Heat @ Philadelphia 76ers
Time: 7:30 p.m. ET
Odds: Heat +2.5, 76ers -2.5
The No. 1 seed in the East, Miami, moved one step closer to advancing to the Eastern Conference finals with a monster 120-85 win over Philadelphia in Game 5. The Heat can now end the series with a win over the 76ers in Philadelphia tonight. That is much easier said than done. So far in the series, the home team has won every game. That is the reason why the Sixers are a 2.5-point favorite after losing to Miami by 35.
Philadelphia shot terribly in Game 5 making just 36.5 percent of their shots from the floor. The Sixers shot 28.1 percent from three-point range. Tyrese Maxey, who has been one of Philly’s scoring leaders throughout the playoffs, hit just 2-of-10 shots in Game 5. Miami’s defense held Philadelphia’s leading scorer Joel Embiid to 17 points and James Harden to 14. The Sixers were down by 15 to start the final quarter. It got much worse when Miami scored the first 12 points of the fourth quarter.
The Sixers will try and feed off of the home crowd again tonight as they face elimination. With tonight’s game being a win or else, Philadelphia will have to play with a sense of urgency as they did in Games 3 and 4. The Sixers won both games 99-79 and 116-108. If they are going to force a decisive Game 7, the 76ers will need that kind of effort.
At home, Philadelphia has shot over 50 percent from the field and 47 percent from three-point range. Plus, the Sixers defended the perimeter in Games 3 and 4 like their lives depended on it. Philly held Miami, the NBA’s best three-point shooting team, to a combined 14-of-65 from behind the arc. That’s 21 percent. If the Sixers can get anywhere near that in Game 6, they should be alright.
Keep in mind that teams that win the first game of a series tend to win that series 75.6 percent of the time. Teams that win the first two games of a series win the series 92.4 percent of the time. Teams that take a 3-2 lead after winning Game 5 win the series 82.2 percent of the time. All of those numbers favor Miami, which is now 13-4 SU and 12-5 ATS in its last 17 games. Miami has won all six of its home games during the postseason. All of the Heat’s playoff losses have come on the road.
Three of the five games in the series so far have gone Under the total. In each of those three games, at least one team failed to reach 100 points. In two of the three games, the losing team failed to surpass 85 points. Philadelphia is now 7-1 SU in its last eight home games. The Heat hasn’t done well lately at the Wells Fargo Center in Philly. Miami is 1-5 SU in its last six trips to the City of Brotherly Love.