The 76ers (39-21) are southbound, facing the Miami Heat (33-29) for the second time in as many games Wednesday for the latter end of a home-and-home.
The Sixers will look to bounce back after Monday’s narrow defeat, 101-99, in the game’s final seconds.
Amid one of the most difficult stretches of the season, the team is embracing the challenges of high-quality opponents and a travel-heavy schedule.
“I’m happy that we have a tough schedule,” Joel Embiid said following Monday’s matchup. “I just want to get better. I want us to get better. I want us to find ways to see what works and what doesn’t.”
Embiid’s 27 points Monday marked a game-high, while Tyrese Maxey added a bench-high 23 points. Maxey credited Embiid for his continued support postgame:
“When the best player in the world believes in you, and you believe in yourself, you’re good against the world I think. I’ve been saying it since day one - he’s instilled faith in me and believes in me, (and) has confidence in me so I can go out there and play freely. So I appreciate him for that.”
Jimmy Butler was Miami’s leading scorer Monday as his team snapped a four-game losing streak, nearing a triple-double with 23 points, 11 rebounds, nine assists, and four steals.
Butler leads the Heat in scoring this season, averaging 21.9 points per game, narrowly trailed by Bam Adebayo, who has averaged 21.2 points and a team-high 9.8 rebounds per game.
As of Tuesday evening, the Sixers occupy the No. 3 seed in the Eastern Conference, while the Heat hold No. 7.
Following Wednesday’s meeting with the Heat, the Sixers will play the second end of a back-to-back Thursday, visiting the Dallas Mavericks (32-30). The trip then shifts north, with stops in Milwaukee, Indianapolis, and Minneapolis.
Wednesday’s matchup is a 7:30 p.m. tip.
Monday’s Standout Performers:
- Embiid finished with a game-high 27 points, plus 12 rebounds, two assists, and a block. He shot 10-for-17 from the field and made all seven of his free throw attempts.
- Maxey tallied a bench-high 23 points, plus a rebound and two assists. He shot 8-for-16 from the field and 4-for-8 long range.
- Harden notched a 20-point, 12-assist double-double, plus six rebounds and two steals. He finished at a game-high +10.
Quote to Note:
Tyrese Maxey on the team’s latest string of single-possession games:
“Coach Doc said, ever since I’ve been here, that in the playoffs, games come down to single play possession games. Today was broken down to single possessions. One play could win the game for you… It’s like every play matters.”
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