After getting off to a tough start in their second-round playoff series against the Miami Heat, the Philadelphia 76ers are finally on the board.
Last Monday, the Sixers paid a visit to the Heat for Game 1. At the time, Philadelphia’s star center Joel Embiid was in the NBA’s concussion protocol as he was battling a mild concussion and an orbital fracture on top of his torn ligament in his thumb.
With Embiid out of the mix, the Sixers struggled on both ends of the floor. As the Sixers struggled from the field, they couldn’t counter the Heat’s offensive attack and opened the series with a double-digit loss.
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When Game 2 rolled around on Wednesday night, the Sixers ran into the same problems as Embiid remained off the floor. Once again, the Sixers found themselves taking on a double-digit loss. Down in an 0-2 hole, the 76ers returned home later in the week.
With Game 3 approaching on Friday, Sixers center Joel Embiid was finally cleared from the NBA’s concussion protocol. As long as the big man was feeling up for the challenge, he would push through the pain of his injuries and make his series debut in Game 3.
After going through his pregame warmups, Embiid was cleared for action. Although he didn’t come in and put on a signature MVP-caliber performance on Friday night, Embiid’s presence offered the Sixers a boost as they cruised past the Heat for their first victory of the second round.
Now, the Sixers are on the board with a win and could tie the series up on Sunday night if they can grab a win at home in Game 4.
Key Game Notes
Sixers were 24-17 when playing at home this season
Heat were 24-17 when playing on the road this year
Heat are 11-4 against the spread in their last 15 games
The total has gone under in seven of the Heat’s last eight games
Sixers are 2-4 against the spread in their last six games
The total has gone under in six of the Sixers’ last eight games
Dewayne Dedmon – Questionable
Tyler Herro – Questionable
Kyle Lowry – Questionable
Caleb Martin – Questionable
Max Strus – Questionable
PJ Tucker – Questionable
Gabe Vincent – Questionable
Joel Embiid – Questionable
Isaiah Joe – Questionable
Spread: Sixers -2.5
Moneyline: PHI -133, MIA +110
Total O/U: 207.5
*All Odds are Provided by SI Sportsbook
Spread: Sixers -2.5
Moneyline: PHI -133
Total O/U: Over 207.5
Justin Grasso covers the Philadelphia 76ers for Sports Illustrated. You can follow him for live updates on Twitter: @JGrasso_.