Game: Miami Heat @ Philadelphia 76ers
Time: 7:30 p.m.
Odds: Heat +6, Sixers -6
The Miami Heat (32-29, 21-37-3) visit the Philadelphia 76ers (39-20 SU, 35-24 ATS) tonight, hoping to end a four-game losing streak. On Saturday, the Heat lost to the lowly Charlotte Hornets 108-103, marking their fourth straight loss. The Hornets have the fourth-worst record in the NBA. Jimmy Butler scored 28 points and Tyler Herro scored 33, but no other Miami player scored more than 14 points in the defeat.
The Heat’s offense hasn’t been particularly great this season. Miami sits dead last in the NBA with just 108.1 points scored per game. Somehow, the Heat offense has become even worse during this four-game losing streak. Miami is averaging 103.7 points over its last four. Making matters worse, Herro is listed as questionable for Monday due to bruised ribs.
The Heat are not the most offensively talented team, and if Herro is unable to play on Monday, they will have a tough time keeping up with the Sixers. If Herro isn’t there to lead the way, Butler and Bam Adebayo will have to step up. Herro is averaging a team-high 23.6 points per game in February.
Miami’s greatest chance of winning this game will be to make it a defensive battle. The Heat have the second-ranked defense in the NBA allowing 108.6 points per game. Only Cleveland allows fewer points. Given that Embiid hasn’t reached 30 points in three of his last four games, it’s conceivable that the Heat will be able to contain the big man and keep the game close.
The Sixers had won five straight before Saturday when they were defeated 110-107 by the Boston Celtics. A 70-footer by Joel Embiid, who finished with a game-high 41 points, came dangerously close to tying the game. James Harden added 21 points in the loss for Philadelphia.
While Embiid had his biggest scoring game in a month, it has been Harden who has really helped Philadelphia’s offense in recent weeks. The shooting guard is averaging just under 22 points per game this season, but during his previous five games, he has averaged nearly 26 points. He had a 31-point performance two games ago.
With or without Herro in the Heat lineup, the Sixers ought to have the upper hand in this contest. Although Embiid’s scoring has slowed down a little in February, he appeared to be himself on Saturday. The big man’s next 40-point performance would probably be enough to defeat Miami.
Embiid still has plenty of capable talent around him in Harden, Tyrese Maxey, and Tobias Harris, which should be enough firepower to defeat the low-scoring Heat.
In a matchup of two of the league’s top defensive teams, Philadelphia opened as a 6.5-point home favorite. The total opened at 216 and has ticked up a half-point. A low scoring game is expected. The Under is 8-3 in the previous 11 meetings, and the Sixers have a significant advantage over the Heat at home, winning 13 of their last 17 games versus Miami at Wells Fargo Center.
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