It’s do or die for the Miami Heat. After a back-and-forth series so far, they’ll try to even the series in a pivotal Game 4 at home on Saturday.
Unfortunately for them, the series may have just been turned on its head. The return of Joel Embiid caused all sorts of matchup nightmares for the Heat, who managed to stay in Game 3 for a while before eventually being blown out by the 76ers, who took a 2-1 lead in the series.
The Heat don’t want to go back to Philadelphia down 3-1, so Saturday’s Game 4 is as close to a must-win as there is before an elimination game. They’ll have to perform much better down the stretch, and figure out a way to at least slow down Embiid and Ben Simmons, to have a chance.
Here is everything you need to know about one of the East’s most exciting matchups:
No. 3 Philadelphia 76ers (52-30) vs. No. 6 Miami Heat (44-38)
How to watch Game 4
- Date: Saturday, April 21
- Time: 2:30 p.m. ET
- Location: American Airlines Arena — Miami, Florida
- TV: TNT
- Live stream: TNTDrama.com/WatchTNT or the WatchTNT app
Playoff series schedule:
Season series: Tied 2-2
Last season’s playoff results: The 76ers are making their first playoff appearance since 2011-12; The Heat are making their first appearance since 2015-16
Injury report: Sixers center Joel Embiid will with an orbital fracture in his eye. Josh Richardson left the Heat’s loss Monday to the Thunder with a knee injury, but he played 35 minutes against the Raptors on Wednesday. Heat guard Dion Waiters is out for the season.
76ers win if …
If the 76ers can carry their momentum from the regular season into the playoffs, then they’re going to be a dangerous team in the playoffs. They finished the regular season on a 16 game win streak. Embiid, if healthy, and Simmons are one of the NBA‘s most dynamic duos. They have the third-best defense and fourth-best net rating in the NBA. They’re an easy favorite.
Heat win if …
The Heat haven’t always been consistent, but their depth gives them a lot of versatility. Miami can gain an advantage if they control the pace, forcing Philadelphia to play slow, and use their bench as an advantage. A lot of teams shorten up their rotation in the playoffs. The Heat don’t have to do that. They can adjust to whatever Philadelphia is running and counter that.
According to SportsLine data scientist Stephen Oh, the 76ers have an 82.5 percent chance to win the first round and a 65.5 percent chance to reach the conference finals. SportsLine will have game-by-game gambling advice for every playoff series here.