This Eastern Conference semi-finals series looked over as the two teams headed back to Philadelphia. Joel Embiid returned in game three and the 76ers rode his return and a possible James Harden resurgence to two wins and now a tied series. All the momentum is with Philadelphia right now because of the return of Embiid and what he brings to his team. Without him, they looked lost against Miami and now with him, they have won two straight games. Entering game five back in South Florida, the 76ers and Heat both know just how important of a game this is. For the Heat, they want to defend home court and head to Philadelphia up in the series. They don’t have to win on the road to advance and need to hold serve at home. For the 76ers, getting this game would be huge as then they could go home, looking to close out the Heat. This has all the makings of a classic playoff game so will Embiid and the 76ers steal home court from Miami? Or will the Miami turn up the heat and defend home court?
How Philadelphia can win: Is James Harden back? Honestly, who knows the answer to that but if game four was any indication, then maybe. The beard looked like his old self in the 76ers win and if he can continue playing at that level, the 76ers will be extremely tough to beat. Danny Green has also seemed to find his shooting stroke so if that continues as well, then Philadelphia should be just fine. Getting Embiid back really seemed to reenergize this team and having him for game five is huge. Philadelphia played effective defense on Miami in the two games at home and need to bring that same level of attention with them on the road. Limiting the Heats transition scoring should be a huge part of the gameplan for Doc Rivers and the 76ers.
How Miami can win: The Heat struggled to score in both games away from Miami and will need to pick it up here tonight. Jimmy Butler can only carry this team so far as he needs some help. Guys like Bam Adebayo and Tyler Herro need to step up and pick up some of the scoring production if they want to take a three games to two series lead. Herro has been in a shooting slump over the past few games so maybe going back home will help him break out of it. Miami also needs to figure out a way to limit the 76ers three-point shots or at least try and force them into taking bad shot attempts. Going back home should help this Heat team a little but they’ll need to make sure they come out and execute if they want to regain the series lead.
The Spread Via FanDuel:
Moneyline: PHI: (+134) | MIA: (-158)
Spread: PHI: +3.5 (-110) | MIA: -3.5 (-110)
Final Prediction: Philadelphia 76ers 109 Miami Heat 105
-I feel like the entire momentum of this series has shifted over to the 76ers. The Heat had two chances to pretty much put this series out of reach and with Embiid back in the fold, I like Philadelphia to win here. Give me the road team to earn a huge win and head back home with a chance to close the series out.