Four games played in the regular season. Both teams split the games winning on their respective home courts.
The Philadelphia 76ers, the three seed, Miami Heat the six seed. The most intriguing series in the NBA playoffs opening round. This will be the second postseason meeting between the teams, with the Heat winning 4-1 in the 2011 first round on the way to the NBA Finals.
The Heat closed their 30th season 5-5 in their final ten games, with only two road victories since Jan. 29th. The 76ers ended the regular season on a 16-game winning streak, the longest such streak to end a season in NBA history.
It is easy to start with the matchup at the center position between Joel Embiid and Hassan Whiteside, but the teams are equally matched.
The 76ers are a fast defensive-minded team, while the Heat are a more grind-it-out-style team. And the 76ers are leaning on only a couple veterans with postseason experience, while the Heat are almost entirely postseason-tested.
The Heat have not always been consistent, but their depth gives them a lot of versatility. Miami can gain an advantage if they control the pace, forcing Philadelphia to play slow, and use their bench as an advantage.
This series could be decided by whoever can control the pace on the floor, and, of course, Joel Embiid’s status will also be a major factor. Embiid will miss at least Game 1 with an orbital fracture in his eye. Whiteside will have to take advantage and let that be a momentum so the Heat can take the home court advantage.
Ben Simmons who is no afraid of the bright lights with do his part. Embiid, if healthy, and Simmons are one of the NBA’s most dangerous duos. They have the third-best defense and fourth-best net rating in the NBA.
WWW pick: Sixers in six.