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The Miami Heat and Philadelphia 76ers have played a relatively chalk set of opening games. No No. 1 seed should lose a home playoff game against an opponent missing its best player. That the 76ers have been forced to start DeAndre Jordan in Joel Embiid’s place makes the fact that they’ve played two relatively competitive games thus far even more impressive. So far, it’s hard to take much of anything from this series. One team has had the talent to advance. The other team has not.

But that might be changing soon. Embiid is reportedly doing everything in his power to get back on the floor for Game 3. The MVP candidate has cleared concussion protocols, and even if he has to wear a mask, he wants to be on the floor when the 76ers host the Heat on Friday. Here’s how you can tune into what will hopefully be his valiant effort to save the season. 

(1) Miami Heat at (4) Philadelphia 76ers

  • When: Friday, May 6 | 7 p.m. ET
  • Where: Wells Fargo Center — Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • TV: ESPN | Live stream: fubo TV
  • Odds: PHI +100; MIA -120; O/U 210.5 (via Caesars Sportsbook)
Featured Game | Philadelphia 76ers vs. Miami Heat


Heat: Don’t look now, but Victor Oladipo is starting to look like himself again. After missing most of the season due to injury, Oladipo scored 19 points in Game 2 after finishing off the Hawks with 23 in the first round. His defense isn’t quite where it was before the injuries, but it’s far better than it should be considering the injuries. Kyle Lowry should return shortly, but Oladipo is playing so well that his place in the rotation should be assured regardless of who the Heat have in the lineup.

76ers: All eyes are on Embiid. If he plays, the 76ers can win this series. It’s as simple as that. They’ve played the Heat competitively in the non-DeAndre Jordan minutes, and merely replacing the worst rotation center in the NBA with 70 or 80 percent of their MVP candidate should make a huge difference. It isn’t clear if Embiid can play, and if he doesn’t, it won’t matter. This series is over without him. It’s on if he can play through the pain.


Even if Embiid plays, we don’t know which version of him we’ll see. The 76ers could easily win the game and the series with him. But this is a player who was struggling with the lights of a cellphone only a few days ago. There’s no telling what condition he’s in right now. So until we’ve seen him play, the pick here has to be Miami. The pick: Heat -1.5



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