The Philadelphia 76ers are in South Beach this evening to take on the Miami Heat. The Sixers have nothing to play for as they’ve locked in their playoff seeding; however, the same cannot be said about the Miami Heat. The Heat, along with the Charlotte Hornets, sit a game back of the 8th place Detroit Pistons, and all three teams have two games left to play. If the Heat can snag a home win against Philly tonight, coinciding with losses from Charlotte and Detroit, their playoff aspirations will remain a possibility.
Miami isn’t exactly rallying for that final playoff spot. They’ve dropped their last four games, but to be fair, they were facing stiff competition in the Celtics (twice) and the Raptors for three of those games. To make things worse for a Miami team that is limping to the end of the regular season, Josh Richardson will miss tonight’s game, marking his sixth absence in the Heat’s last seven games.
The Sixers may make things easy for the Heat though: Joel Embiid and JJ Redick are listed as out, giving the two starters a rest, and so is James Ennis. With Embiid out, Boban Marjanovic will likely start, but which big will come off the bench? Jonah Bolden is listed as a game-time decision — could... could we get Greg Monroe minutes this evening? Even Jonathon Simmons, who effectively played his way out of the rotation, may resurface as the Sixers are thin on wing depth.
Philly could complete the season sweep of Miami with a win tonight, but I forecast that outcome as unlikely. Not because the Sixers are thin, and not because they have nothing to play for, and not because Miami has everything to play for. Tonight very well could be Dwyane Wade’s final game ever in Miami if the Heat miss the playoffs, as Wade is planning to retire after this season. It wouldn’t be the least bit shocking to see a vintage Wade game in which he wills the Heat to victory in the team’s most important game of the season (until tomorrow) and Wade’s potential last ever home appearance.
Who gets the Wade jersey swap? (Simmons already has.)
This poll is closed
Who: Philadelphia 76ers vs. Miami Heat
When: 7:30 pm EST
Where: American Airlines Arena, Miami FL
Watch: NBC Sports Philadelphia
Listen: 97.5 The Fanatic