Philadelphia 76ers vs Miami Heat 5/2/22: Starting Lineups, Matchup Preview, Betting Odds, Live Stream

Philadelphia 76ers vs. Miami Heat Matchup Preview (5/2/22)

The Philadelphia 76ers take on the Miami Heat in the Second Round of the Eastern Conference. Philadelphia defeated the Raptors 4-2 in the First Round after leading 3-0. They are 2nd in Offensive Rating (119.5) and 6th in Defensive Rating (109.6) for the playoffs. In the First Round, the 76ers had a 48.8 FG%, 40.8 3PT%, and 84.9 FT%. Joel Embiid paved the way for them at 26.2 PPG, 11.3 RPG, and 2.3 APG on a 52 FG%. Tyrese Maxey was the second leading scorer at 21.3 PPG on a scorching 51/40/95 shooting split. James Harden produced 19 PPG and 10.2 APG on a mediocre 40.5 FG% and 38.2 3PT%. Tobias Harris – the final piece of their core four – contributed 17.8 PPG and 9.5 RPG while owning an excellent 51/43/87 shooting split. The biggest development from the First Round was the injury to Joel Embiid. He suffered a right orbital fracture and a mild concussion. Doc Rivers inexcusably left him in the game even though they were up 29 points with 3:58 left when it happened. This coaching blunder is another blemish on Rivers’ long career. Embiid was already battling through a thumb injury, so it made no sense to jeopardize his health in garbage time. Philadelphia is optimistic that he will be able to return for Game 3. Paul Reed or DeAndre Jordan will get the start at center for Game 1. 

The Heat enter this game after dominating the Atlanta Hawks 4-1 in the First Round. They own the 4th Offensive Rating (115.9) and 2nd Defensive Rating (104.1) in the playoffs so far. Miami didn’t shoot the lights out against the Hawks, but they were adequate enough to produce points. They finished the First Round with a 46.5 FG% and 34.4 3PT%. Jimmy Butler was phenomenal against the Hawks; he had 30.5 PPG, 7.8 RPG, 5.3 APG, and 2.8 SPG on a 54/43/79 shooting split. Bam Adebayo didn’t score much (12.4 PPG), but he contributed 8 RPG and 3.6 APG while playing excellent defense. Tyler Herro disappointed against the Hawks, as he had 12.8 PPG on a 39.1 FG% and 17.9 3PT%. The injury report is riddled for Game 1 against the 76ers. Kyle Lowry is out with a hamstring injury; he hasn’t played since Game 3. Jimmy Butler and Tyler Herro are listed as questionable, but both have stated that they intend to play Game 1. The status of Strus, Tucker, Martin, and Morris is murkier – they are all questionable to play.

Philadelphia 76ers vs. Miami Heat Betting Odds

The two teams split the regular season 2-2, and the spread for Game 1 is set at -7.5 Heat. I am going with the Heat to cover here. Philadelphia is missing MVP-candidate Joel Embiid, which is a huge loss on both sides of the ball. The Heat matchup well against the 76ers and can neutralize their strengths. James Harden appears to be out of his prime, and I think he struggles with the scoring/facilitating workload he is projected to have in Game 1. Miami also has home-court, where they were far more effective in the regular season. They went 29-12 at home (58-win pace) and 24-17 on the road (48-win pace). Another factor in Miami’s favor is the rest advantage. They will have had 5 full days of rest, while the 76ers will only have had 3 days. Every signal points towards the Heat comfortably cruising in Game 1. 

The over under is set at 208.5 total points, and I like the under to hit. The 76ers are going to struggle scoring the ball against this Heat defense, and Miami isn’t an unstoppable offensive force themselves. The pace will be slow considering the Heat love grinding out each possession and transforming the game into a defensive slugfest. If Embiid was playing and this was the line, I would bet the over. However, it’s a different game with him on the bench.

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TV Schedule

Date: 5/2/22
Time: 7:30 PM ET
Arena: FTX Arena – Miami, FL
Channel: TNT

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Philadelphia 76ers Starting Lineup

PG: James Harden
SG: Tyrese Maxey
SF: Danny Green
PF: Tobias Harris
C: Paul Reed

Philadelphia 76ers Analysis

With Embiid out, the 76ers will be tempted to run the offense through Harden and give him an absurdly high usage percentage. However, I don’t think this will work. Harden is out of his prime, and he cannot drive past defenders like he used to. He’s older, slower, and weighs more than Houston Harden. He has struggled with his shot too and doesn’t have the same efficiency. Also, Miami likely assigns defensive beast Jimmy Butler to mark Harden, which will limit Harden’s production. Harden is used to bullying smaller guards, but Butler is about the same height as Harden. Butler’s frame, aggression, and anticipation will stymie Harden’s on-ball production. Even if he gets past Butler, DPOY-candidate Bam Adebayo will be waiting to help in the paint. Philadelphia should embrace ball-movement and abandon their isolation-heavy ideas. Miami was 8th in isolation defense this season because they have premier defenders (Butler, Tucker, Adebayo) who can hold their own. The Heat were 17th in transition defense and 20th defending cuts, so the 76ers can push the pace while energetically moving with purpose when off-ball. 

The X factor for the 76ers is forward Tobias Harris. He shined against the Raptors, and the 76ers need his scoring now more than ever. He has the ability to create off the dribble and break down the defense. PJ Tucker will be a difficult player to get by, but Harris has the offensive versatility to accomplish it. Harris can operate out of the post and provide some interior offense. When off-ball, Harris can space the floor effectively – he shot 40% on catch and shoot threes against the Raptors. He’s not a great defender, but the 76ers need his interior defense with Embiid gone. By no means is he expected to turn into a rim protector; however, playing help defense and swiping at drivers will be crucial. 

Miami Heat Starting Lineup

PG: Gabe Vincent
SG: Max Strus
SF: Jimmy Butler
PF: PJ Tucker
C: Bam Adebayo

Miami Heat Analysis

Miami has to attack the paint now that Embiid is not attentively patrolling it. 44.9% of Miami’s shots against the Hawks were three-pointers, the second highest mark in the playoffs. They have great shooters, but it felt like they were settling too often for threes and not driving to the hoop when they were not shooting well. If they become more balanced, it will improve their shot quality from deep because the defense has to shade inside more. When their shooters are struggling, Miami can also produce more consistent offense by attacking the rim. Bam and Butler will be the key players providing paint production. Both can kick the ball out to the perimeter also, so the 76ers will have to be careful when doubling. PJ Tucker (53.3 3PT%, 3 3PA) and Duncan Robinson (50 3PT%, 2.8 3PA) scorched the Hawks on catch and shoot threes. Gabe Vincent (40 3PT%, 3 3PA) and Max Strus (40 3PT%, 7 3PA) were also efficient on catch and shoot threes in the First Round. They should clearly take a large number of threes, but the Heat have to be careful not to live or die by the three. 

The X factor for the Heat is Tyler Herro. He struggled mightily with efficiency against the Hawks, so he must bounce back against the tougher 76ers. When Herro is clicking, the Heat bench is arguably the most dangerous in the NBA. Herro can pull up from anywhere on the court while being able to orchestrate the offense. With Robinson, Oladipo, Martin, and Dedmon surrounding Herro, he will have plenty of weapons to find for an open look. Herro’s offense is an electric current that can jolt this bench into dominating the 76ers. 

Braxton has been covering the NBA for Lineups since the 2022 season. He's worked with multiple collegiate coaching staffs regarding analytics and scouting, which has allowed him to understand the game on a deeper level. Braxton is also a contributor at Thunderous Intentions.

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