The Miami Heat will have a chance to close the series against the Philadelphia 76ers on Thursday night in Philly. The Heat have a 3-2 lead, and a massive swing following a blowout win in Florida. Game 4 ended 120-85 in Miami’s favor. The Heat was ruthless, dominant and very, very fluid in this contest, which hasn’t been the case in the previous two in Philadelphia. Strong opening and closing periods brought a 120-85 victory for Erik Spoelstra’s unit. It is Philly’s turn to answer now and respond.
Miami Heat (+120) has been excellent in the opening part of Game 5, creating a double-digit lead straight away. A versatile offense that saw seven players with 10 or more points led the way, while on the other side, the Heat players happened to be very strong on the defensive side.
Gabe Vincent started at the point guard instead of Kyle Lowry, who didn’t play this one, and he scored 15 points, playing his role perfectly, Jimmy Butler had a game-high 23 buckets with nine boards and six assists.
Max Strus was excellent, posting a double-double with 19 points and 10 boards, while Victor Oladipo added 13 buckets from the bench. Bam Adebayo scored 12 and had six assists. The Heat limited the guests to only 36 rebounds, having ten more on their end.
Philadelphia 76ers (-125) looked helpless on the court. The reason for that were the poor performances of their backcourt duo, Maxey-Harden, who scored only 23 points combined while shooting 7-for-13 from the field.
Embiid was obviously slower than usual, having 17 buckets and five boards, but having in mind that the Process plays with a fractured orbital bone and torn ligament in his thumb, that is expected. Regardless of his fantastic skills and talent, those are limitations that would sooner or later take a toll.
Tobias Harris was pale as well, 12 points and three boards, while no players off the bench managed to score 10 or more points. Just o say that Harden had 14 buckets and Maxey nine. They were looking lost throughout the majority of the contest. Harden is nowhere near his level of play from Houston, and it seems that he won’t reach it anymore.
Head to Head Games
The opening two events of the series that took place in Miami both ended with the hosts’ victory. The first one ended 106-92 and the second 119-103. After that the series moved to Philly, where the hosts had Embiid who skipped the opening two clashes. The 76ers responded hard, beating the rivals, 99-79 and 116-108. However, the Heat brought back the lead to their side with a strong with Tuesday’s 120-85 triumph.
The next game is do or die for Philly, and they will have to be more aggressive than usual. Let’s say that using the recipe from Game 3 would be a solution to this problem. On the other hand, Miami will be tough on the defensive side, and as we saw each time, they are making a difference on the defensive end, not through the offense. Therefore we are going with under 217 points in this case, which is the current total points line.
Pick: Under 217 points -110
Nikola Velickovic is a sports journalist who loves to write and read on all sports. Nikola contributes both news updates and functions as a sports breaking news writer at WagerBop.