GAME PREVIEW: Philadelphia 76ers to host Miami Heat in 7/8 play-in game

Jimmy Butler is ready to activate “Playoff Jimmy” ahead of a matchup against his former team, the Philadelphia 76ers.

It is the best time of the year for Jimmy Butler and the Miami Heat. After concluding their regular season with a pair of wins and gaining some last-minute rhythm, they will play the Philadelphia 76ers on the road for the 7/8 Eastern Conference play-in game.

Butler will go to toe-to-toe against reigning MVP Joel Embiid and his former squad.

The Heat found themselves in the eight seed in a tight East standings race, finishing with a final record of 46-36. With all the ups and downs this season brought, they sported a better record than a season ago where they finished 44-38.

Miami is the reigning Eastern Conference champions and a proven roster filled with experience that has always been built for postseason success. Butler sat down with SLAM magazine for an exclusive interview earlier this week, where he expressed his confidence on where the team stands going into this playoffs:

“It’s the time where people really gotta think about going up against the Miami Heat and myself. I know what I’m capable of. I know what my squad is capable of. And don’t nobody want to see us in a seven-game series anyways. We know that.”

Butler has earned the reputation during this time of the season to be known as “Playoff Jimmy”, where he drastically improves each and every one of his individual statistics. He has led the team to two NBA Finals appearances and one Eastern Conference finals appearance across the last four years.

Unfortunately, the Heat are not officially in the postseason just yet. Tonight will surely be a playoff atmosphere in Philadelphia, but the Heat need to win one out of two possible play-in games to get there.

The winner of tonight’s game will earn the East’s seventh seed and face the two seed New York Knicks in the first round starting on Saturday. The loser will have to play the winner of the 9/10 play-in game between the Atlanta Hawks and Chicago Bulls.

There is a lot at stake tonight, and the 76ers will not be an easy task in a one-game scenario. They have Embiid back in the picture after he was sidelined for months with a knee injury.

He is listed on the 76er’s injury report as questionable with knee recovery, but is expected to be available.

There is also a much improved Tyrese Maxey to handle, along with former Heatle Kyle Lowry in their backcourt. Lowry is familiar with the Heat’s schemes and playoff game plan’s from over the years.

Nick Nurse and Erik Spoelstra are two of the league’s premier coaching minds. The way they create counter schemes and adjustments through the game will also be a factor.

The Heat are heading into this huge game with almost a fully healthy roster. Duncan Robinson was unexpectedly upgraded to Probable, leaving Terry Rozier as the lone man out in the Heat’s rotation tonight.

Tip-off is set for 7:00 PM EST nationally televised on ESPN.

Injury Report (at the time of this publishing):

Miami Heat:

  • Duncan Robinson (facet) — PROBABLE
  • Terry Rozier (neck) — OUT
  • Josh Richardson (surgery) — OUT

Philadelphia 76ers:

  • Joel Embiid (knee) — QUESTIONABLE
  • KJ Martin (toe) — QUESTIONABLE
  • Robert Covington (knee) — OUT
  • De’Anthony Melton (back) — OUT

Projected Starting 5 (subject to change):

Miami Heat:

  • Tyler Herro, G
  • Caleb Martin, G
  • Jimmy Butler, F
  • Nikola Jovic, F
  • Bam Adebayo, C

Philadelphia 76ers:

  • Kyle Lowry, G
  • Tyrese Maxey, G
  • Kelly Oubre Jr, F
  • Tobias Harris, F
  • Joel Embiid, C

Betting Lines:

  • Check the current odds out at FanDuel!

Broadcast Info:

  • Tipoff: 7:00 PM EST
  • TV: ESPN/ESPN 2 (Mike Breen, Dorris Burke, JJ Redick)
  • Radio: AM 560 Sports WQAM & The HEAT Radio Network (Jason Jackson)
  • Spanish Radio: WAQI 710 AM & The HEAT Spanish Radio Network (José Pañeda)

Come back to Hot Hot Hoops at game time to join our GameThread and chat about the game live with other Heat fans!



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Jimmy to Joel: we’ll beat yo ass off. Then see you in ecf. lol

Max Pain

Hope Spo gives meaningful mins to Delon in this game.

As impactful as he has been whenever he’s on the floor I think it would be almost negligent not to play him.


Praying that the injury didn’t affect Love’s efficiency. His 11/4/16 were huge in the last game. Herro can provide the offensive ammunition that we lost since Terry’s injury, hopefully without going 7/20fgm. This is the time for Butler to activate “Playoff Jimmy”

In my opinion, I think Spoelstra should play Delon Wright over Duncan because of the defense Delon can bring and Duncan just recovered from an injury was not the same in the last 6 games.

heat for life

ill take delons d over dunc game anyday of the week .tys enough of a d liability


Start Wright and have Duncan come off the bench. The real question is who will be in the rotation and who will be left out? Who does Spo trust? Two weeks ago, I would have left Jaquez, Wright and Bryant out of the rotation. Now, with Rozier out, Jaquez finding his mojo and Bryant hitting his stride, I’m not so sure. It will also be the first real test for 20 year old Jovic. Will he blossom or will he wilt? Time will tell.

For Miami to win, several things will need to go right, depending on who is in the rotation.
#1: Playoff Jimmy MUST show up. 25/6/6 with 2-3 steals would be great.
#2: Bam must hold his own against Embiid (20/10 would be great) with a couple of 3’s.
#3: Herro must produce. 20/6/6 with few turnovers would be great.
#4: Duncan must make his 3 point shots. 3-4 at minimum would be awesome!
#5: Wright/Caleb/Highsmith must slow down Maxey.
#6: Harris must not be allowed to run amok when defensive pressure is being put on Embiid/Maxey.
#7: Jovic, Jaquez, Love, Bryant need to hold their own defensively and produce 10+ pts offensively.
#8: Spo needs to outcoach Nurse.



Based on this, Heat needs to score 115+ to win hehe. Doable. Go Heat!

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