The Sixers kick off their second-round series against the East-leading Miami Heat tonight. While the Sixers will begin the series with Joel Embiid (right orbital fracture and concussion) out of the lineup, Miami is not a picture of health either, with Kyle Lowry out because of a left hamstring strain and Jimmy Butler slowed by right knee inflammation.
For the Sixers, the short-term goal is to steal one out of two in Miami and hope Embiid is able to return and effectively play through his various ailments, which includes not only the facial fracture and concussion that are keeping him out to start the series, but also the torn ligament in his shooting thumb he suffered in Game 6 against Toronto. If that happens, this series has a chance to be a fascinating Xs and Os chess match between Erik Spoelstra and Doc Rivers as each team tries to counter the other's strengths.
In this preview:
- Overview of the two teams
- A comparison of the starting lineups
- Takeaways from the regular season matchups
- Video breakdown of Miami's off-ball offense, and Bam's unique role in it.
- Thoughts on attacking Miami's 5th-ranked defense
- The possibility of a lot of zone defense
- And, finally, my prediction
Four Factors - Sixers offense vs Heat defense
|Team||Rtg (rk)||eFG% (rk)||TOV% (rk)||OReb% (rk)||FTr (rk)|
|76ers offense||113.0 (11th)||53.4% (16th)||12.9% (5th)||24.6% (30th)||28.2% (2nd)|
|Heat defense||108.4 (4th)||52.4% (12th)||15.4% (3rd)||26.5% (9th)||26.8% (27th)|
(Note: the above table's stats are from the full 82 game regular season schedule. Source: nba.com).