76ers vs. Heat Odds
|Time||7:30 p.m. ET|
|Odds via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute NBA odds here.|
The Heat got off to a strong start by taking a 20-6 lead in the first quarter, but the 76ers answered back in the second quarter once DeAndre Jordan left the court, they got smaller, and mixed in some zone defense. The Heat offense stalled in the second quarter, and the 76ers took a 51-50 lead into the half.
The Heat eventually pulled away at the end of the third quarter, and led by Tyler Herro and Bam Adebayo’s efficient pick-and-roll offense, they pulled away in the early fourth quarter, eventually taking a 21-point lead as Jimmy Butler didn’t play a second in the fourth quarter.
Can the 76ers bounce back in Game 2, or will the Heat jump out to a 2-0 lead on Wednesday?
Harris, Maxey and Harden Need to Step Up for the 76ers
Joel Embiid remains out for Game 2, so the Sixers will need Tobias Harris, Tyrese Maxey and James Harden to all play at a high level while they figure out their big man solution.
In Game 1, the Heat sold out defensively to stop Harden by playing P.J. Tucker on him. Tucker picked him up full court, and when he went out, Victor Oladipo came in and did the same thing. Playing Tucker/Oladipo on him meant that Harden and the 76ers would have a tough time of getting an advantageous switch in 1-5 pick-and-roll with Adebayo as the Heat’s big man. The Heat were also ready to provide help to whoever was guarding Harden all night.
While the Heat defense was focused on Harden, Maxey had opportunities to utilize his elite speed to attack holes in the Heat defense or even turn the corner on his man when the Heat weren’t already in rotation. Harris also presents a mismatch for the Heat defense as he can use his length to get comfortable step back mid-range jumpers just about whenever he wants.
The 76ers need Maxey and Harris to score efficiently and often and build on that as the Heat focus on stopping Harden. The 76ers shot 17.6% on 3s in Game 1, and they need to improve dramatically on that number in Game 2 against a Heat defense that is designed to force opponents into taking perimeter shots.
The 76ers also need to figure out who to play as their big man with Embiid out. Jordan gives the Heat an easy target in a drop and his lack of versatility really limits Philly on both ends. The Heat scored 1.59 points per possession with him on the court compared to 0.88 points per possession with him off the floor.
Paul Reed is another option, and while he made some nice plays offensively in Game 1, it’s clear that he can’t be trusted to play without fouling on defense (five fouls in 13 minutes, and Glenn Rivers acknowledged this himself after the game). He doesn’t have a ton of playing experience in the NBA, and it shows when facing an Eric Spoelstra-coached team.
In his two seasons *combined*, Paul Reed played 479 regular season minutes.
Gabe Vincent and Max Strus each played 500+ minutes in their *first* full seasons with Miami.
Now ask yourself why Paul seems to make more rookie mistakes than Miami's young guys.
— Avi Wolfman-Arent (@Avi_WA) May 3, 2022
The last option is to play small with either Georges Niang or Harris at the five, but the 76ers need Niang to play a lot better than going 0-of-7 on 3s to justify him being out there. Going small and mixing in zone might be their best option in Game 2.
Can Herro and the Heat Keep Rolling in Game 2?
If the Heat hope to take a 2-0 lead, they need execute in the half-court offensively and limit the number of opportunities that the 76ers get against their weak links on defense. It’s imperative that the Heat minimize their fouls so that Harden and the 76ers can’t get easy points at the charity stripe.
The Heat’s half-court offense got bogged down in the second quarter of Game 1, but if they play with good ball movement and spacing, they should have opportunities to attack the 76ers defense.
Sixth Man of the Year Tyler Herro had a big night and will be key for the Heat’s offense, and the Heat need to limit the 76ers isolating against him when he is on defense to keep him on the court. Herro excelled as a scorer by leading the Heat with 25 points and also had seven assists and zero turnovers in Kyle Lowry’s absence. Lowry will remain out for Game 2 (hamstring).
The Heat should have opportunities to get open 3s or midrange jump shots whenever they attack Jordan and Maxey, and they also need to improve on their poor 3-point shooting from Game 1 when they went just 9-of-36.
Jimmy Butler had a quiet night in Game 1 with 15 points on 5-of-16 from the field, and I anticipate a bounce back game for him in Game 2 against a 76ers team that doesn’t have a plethora of wing stoppers outside of Matisse Thybulle (who only played 15 minutes in Game 1).
With both teams shooting well below expectations from beyond the arc in Game 1, there should be some shooting regression in Game 2. The 76ers don’t have great options defensively whether they choose to go with Jordan, Reed or go small. The total sits at just 207.5 at multiple books, and I love the value on the over and would play it up to 209.5.
With the Heat continuing to focus on stopping Harden like they did with Trae Young in the previous series, I also will be playing under Harden’s point total of 23.5 at -110 on DraftKings (with value down to 22.5 at -105 or better).
The Heat are -120 to score over 27.5 points in the first quarter and +110 to score over 28.5 in the first quarter on BetMGM. I like either of those with Rivers already announcing that Jordan will start at the five for the 76ers in Game 2.
I also like the value of Gabe Vincent to go over 9.5 points at -105 on DraftKings (with value up to 10). Vincent has gone over this number in two of the last three games with Lowry out as he has seen an increase in minutes, and he went over this total in Game 1 despite going just 1-7 on 3s.
Pick: Over 207.5 | James Harden Under 23.5 Points | Heat 1Q Over 27.5 | Gabe Vincent Over 9.5 Points