National Basketball Association
Miami at Philadelphia
When: 7:00 PM ET, Thursday, February 21, 2019
Where: Wells Fargo Center, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
The Philadelphia 76ers would not have homecourt advantage in the first round of the Eastern Conference playoffs if the season ended at the All-Star break and are looking for more. The 76ers will try to continue their push up the standings when they return from the break by hosting the Miami Heat on Thursday.
Philadelphia made two of the biggest deals prior to the trade deadline by bringing in Jimmy Butler and Tobias Harris and will spend the remaining games of the regular season working out rotations and building chemistry while trying to chase down the Boston Celtics, Indiana Pacers, Toronto Raptors and Milwaukee Bucks in the East. The 76ers are just 3-8 against the four teams ahead of them in the standings with four matchups remaining, including two against the NBA-best Bucks. The Heat are tied with the Detroit Pistons for the No. 8 spot in the East heading into the final stretch and are finishing off a six-game road trip that bridged the break. Miami closed out the Western Conference portion of that trip with a 112-101 victory at Dallas and will play 10 of its next 12 at home after finishing up with Philadelphia, including a pair of games against the Pistons.TV:
7 p.m. ET, FS Sun (Miami), NBCS PhiladelphiaABOUT THE HEAT (26-30):
Miami began to surge after former All-Star point guard Goran Dragic went down and the team inserted small forward Justise Winslow into the starting lineup and let him take over playmaking duties. Dragic, who averaged 15.3 points and 4.9 assists in 14 games, is on the verge of returning from arthroscopic knee surgery and will be welcomed back by Winslow. "I'm excited to have Goran back," Winslow told reporters. "Him being left-handed, there are a lot of things I have taken from him and put in my game. I love playing with Goran. I love his passion and his fight that he plays with."ABOUT THE 76ERS (37-21):
Philadelphia is third in the league in scoring offense (115.9) but 20th in scoring defense (112.2) and recognizes that it needs to get better on that end of the floor to compete for the East title. "We know that offensively we are a top-power team," Harris told reporters. "We also know that if we become a top-power defensive team that's going to make us really tough to play against so that's how we've got to look at it." Harris is averaging 17.8 points on 51.9 percent shooting in four games since joining the team from the Los Angeles Clippers.BUZZER BEATERS
1. 76ers PG Ben Simmons and C Joel Embiid combined for 20 points and 18 rebounds while playing on opposite sides in Sunday's All-Star Game.
2. Miami SG Dwyane Wade played in his final All-Star Game on Sunday and is down to 26 regular-season games remaining in his NBA career.
3. Philadelphia, which knocked the Heat out in the first round of the playoffs last spring, earned a 124-114 road win at Miami on Nov. 12.PREDICTION:
76ers 121, Heat 111
Stats and Records