Tonight the Sixers’ will play the Miami Heat for the fourth and final team this season. But they will be without their MVP. Joel Embiid is out tonight with back soreness, per Ramona Shelburne. Embiid was listed as questionable the last few games as well, but with tonight’s game being the second game of a back-to-back, the Sixers chose to give the big man a night off.
It will be the third time they face the Heat in the second game of a back-to-back. In January they played them in Miami a day after beating the Celtics and won. And just a couple of weeks ago they played them in Miami a day after beating the Cavaliers at home. They lost that time. Overall they come in 1-2 vs the one-seed Heat.
The difference this time is they will not have to travel. They stay home after losing at home last night to the Raptors. The Heat meanwhile come in off two days rest after beating the Oklahoma City Thunder Friday night at home.
The Sixers recently have been a bit uneven. Friday night they had one of their most impressive wins, beating the Mavericks by double digits. But last night they fell to the Raptors in a game where their shooting was ugly and they were massively out-rebounded. They still seem to be figuring some stuff in the Harden era, but with only 14 games left, they are running out of time.
A loss to this Heat team would put them 4.5 games out of first place. The Bucks have a half-game lead for the 2 seed. The 4 seed Celtics are currently tied up with the Sixers. It was James Harden who sat due to rest the last time the Sixers faced the Heat. Harden says he expects to play tonight after the loss last night though.
For the Heat, Victor Oladipo (Back) and Gabe Vincent (Toe) are out. Sixers fans will be happy to not have to face Vincent who always seems to get up for games vs Philly. Despite averaging just 8.9 pts per game on the season, he averaged 21pts per game this season vs the Sixers. In two games this year, Vincent averaged 5 3pts a game and shot over 60% from deep. Jimmy Butler (Ankle) meanwhile is questionable, but the expectation is he will play.
The game tips at 7:30, and our coverage starts at 6 pm with a Sixers Pre-game Edition of Beers with Bob, hosted by Bob Cooney. And then at 7:20 it is Devon Givens and the Pre-Game Show. Tom McGinnis is on the call. Stay tuned after the game when Devon Givens goes In the Post, to react to the game, and take your calls.