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Miami Heat’s Play-In Chances: Seventh Seed On The Line Tonight

Erik Spoelstra is a key for the Miami Heat play-in chances.

 The Miami Heat will try to play themselves out of the play-in round and into the playoffs as they face Joel Embiid and the 76ers tonight.

Miami Heat’s Play-In Chances: Seventh Seed On The Line Tonight

History Relevancy In Big Games

Lately, we’ve heard much of “trusting in the history” of the Golden State Warriors as the reason to believe they could make the playoffs. Well, just last night, they bowed out against the Sacramento Kings in the West’s 9, 10 play-in game. Similarly, there has been much chatter about trusting in the recent history of the Heat. While a team’s success in recent times is something to believe in, a play-in game can quickly crumble that belief to pieces. The Warriors know this gut punch today.

Miami Trying to Make Good On Their History

So, there’s no chance the Miami Heat will bow out in the play-in tournament, right? Not with their history, right? Their critical tilt against the seventh-seed Philadelphia 76ers will be a mighty test. Their season series saw a rather competitive four-game split, the most recent one coming back on April 4th in a 76ers win. The Heat took the first two games, one at the Kaseya Center and one at the Wells Fargo Center. Both games were extremely close, with the Heat winning by a five and six-point differential. In March, the 76ers won their first of the following two, eventually leading to the series split. 

Miami Heat’s Play-In Success Means Pressure For Bam Adebayo

Considering both teams had missing critical players for a few of those matchups, all four games were winnable on both sides. Joel Embiid missed the first two contests but returned for the last and dominated. Tyler Herro also missed some of the games due to injury. In Philly and the Miami Heat’s play-in match tonight, Duncan Robinson is expected back; a relief for the coaching staff, I’m sure. Unfortunately, Terry Rozier remains out with his neck injury. Miami has the pieces, the grit, and the tenacity to take this all-important matchup with Philly. They need to make buckets, shoot solid from three, and play stingy defense. Recent US Olympic member Bam Adebayo must play Embiid strong and force him to make tough shots. Bam averaged a double for the season with his usual excellent paint defense. 

Miami’s Second Ticket Punch, If Needed

If the 76ers win tonight’s Eastern Conference play-in opener, the positive in this hypothetical scenario is that the Heat are not dead. Whoever comes out on top in Chicago in the second ESPN-aired play-in game this evening will head to South Beach. Whether the DeMar DeRozan’s Chicago Bulls or Trae Young’s Atlanta Hawks make it through, Miami will match up against either squad reasonably well. Although the Heat did not fare well against the Hawks this season, going 1–3, a one-and-done tilt still bodes well in Miami’s favor. At this point, I would consider their history in do-or-die games. The same applies in a potential matchup with the Bulls, which saw a regular season four-game split. A win-or-go-home matchup with the Bulls also bodes well for Miami based on their team’s never-die persona. Chicago has never seemed to get it done in the playoffs.

Solid Coaching Matters In The Playoffs

It would be wise to consider head coach Eric Spoelstra’s genius and superior game strategizing to outmatch opposing coaches. He is widely considered a top-3 NBA coach. Tonight isn’t the first time his team has been in this position. He knows the right strings to pull and which players to put out there when it counts.


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