Can Miami knock out the Sixers?
By Kevin Bertalotto. April 11th 2018.
Although the Philadelphia 76ers led by Rookie of the Year Ben Simmons and all star Joel Embiid have a better record and has home court advantage against the Heat, there are reasons to believe that is not enough to eliminate the Miami Heat. In the 4 meetings both teams have won their home games so it’s tied 2-2, but in those 4 games here are their stats vs each other: Sixers 101.8ppg on 43% shooting vs Heat’s 102.3ppg on 44% shooting. BOTH average 11 made 3s vs one another, Philly does avg more rebounds and assists but more turnovers.
The Heat may not have the biggest names on the bench but surely they step up when needed. The Heat’s bench averages 44ppg vs the Sixers, 40.1ppg overall. Meanwhile the Sixers’s bench averaged 29.8ppg vs Miami, 30 overall. With Wayne Ellington it is no surprise the Heat’s bench averages more 3s. ANOTHER advantage Miami’s bench has is rebounding, they average about 5 more vs the Sixers bench.
Having playoff experience is a plus and so is being young and hungry. Miami has both, they missed the playoffs last yr by 1 game due to them not owning the tiebreaker so you know they want to play extra hard. Based off preseason predictions NOBODY had the Sixers being top 5, many had them winning 40 games so there was no real pressure, something the “FEDS” have yet to experience in this league. Miami may not have a lot more playoff experience but certainly more. Spoelstra was there for 3 rings, Brett Brown never made the playoffs as the head coach. And let’s not forget Embiid is still hurt and even best case scenario Embiid still misses Game 1 which would allow the Heat to steal a game on the road.
Facing the Heat in 3 games, Joel has averaged about 19 and on 41% shooting which is a 7% dip. Not only do have Troell Embiid and Whiteside on court but also on social media, so both are extra hyped. When guarded by Hassan in 94 possessions Joel shot 13/28 including 6/11 on 3s. While Embiid is guarding Hassan, Whiteside shot 11/18 in 93 possessions. Sure nobody on Miami can stop Ben Simmons, however due to depth we can tire him out by having 4 different defenders on him throughout the game and if needed to we can do hack-a- Ben Simmons since his FT% is 56%.
Considering these two also keep it close and are evenly matched it is important to see how well these two do in crunch time. In the last 5 mins game within 5 Miami holds their opponent to 38% shooting, 22% on 3s and forced 49 turnovers. The Sixers in that time frame held their opponent to 37% shooting, 33% on 3s and forced 39 turnovers. Both average 7.7ppg in crunch time with an exact 1.0 +/-. Miami is 28-24 vs Sixers 25-19 in close games.
Who will win?
Based off all this information and considering every factor I feel confident in taking the 6th seeded Miami Heat in 6 or 7, but if the Sixers are as good as they are hyped, Philly SHOULD win this series but will they? Hopefully we’ll find out.