NBA: Heat scorch 76ers, boost NBA playoff position bid | Inquirer Sports

NBA: Heat scorch 76ers, boost NBA playoff position bid

/ 11:43 AM April 07, 2023

Jimmy Butler Miami Heat NBA

Jimmy Butler of the Miami Heat   (Getty Images via AFP)

LOS ANGELES – Jimmy Butler and Tyler Herro scored 24 points apiece to lead Miami to a 129-101 victory over the Philadelphia 76ers on Thursday that kept the Heat in the hunt for direct entry into the NBA playoffs.

With two games left the Heat still have a chance to grab sixth place in the Eastern Conference from the Brooklyn Nets and avoid the play-in tournament for the seventh- through 10th-placed teams.


They’ll need help, however, since the Nets can lock up the spot with a win in either of their last two games, against Orlando on Friday and the 76ers on Sunday.


Butler scored 14 of his 24 points in the third quarter and also handed out six assists before taking a seat in the fourth period.

Bam Adebayo and Max Strus added 14 points each for Miami.

Herro, who had five of the Heat’s 18 three-pointers, said the Heat were more focused on finding consistency than avoiding the play-in.

“It’s just being consistent for us,” he said. “No matter what, coming in with the same energy wherever we are.

“Wherever we end up in the seedings, we’ll be all right,” he added. “We like our chances.”

The 76ers, already locked into the third seed in the East behind Milwaukee and Boston, coughed up 17 turnovers, falling into a 25-point hole in the first half.


Philadelphia reserve Jalen McDaniels drained a three-pointer as time expired in the first quarter to cut the deficit to 41-31, but Miami kept coming in the second, pushing the lead to 67-42 with a 10-0 scoring run capped by Strus’s running three-pointer.

The Heat led by as many as 33 and Sixers coach Doc Rivers sat his starters in the fourth quarter.

Philadelphia center Joel Embiid, coming off a 52-point performance in a hard-fought victory over the Celtics on Tuesday, scored 21 points and James Harden added 14.

“It was an exercise tonight,” Rivers said.

It was much the same in Orlando, where Danny Green scored 21 points and Cedi Osman added 19 for the Cleveland cavaliers in a 118-94 victory over the Magic.

Both the playoff-bound Cavs and the out-of-contention Magic rested several key players, two days after the Cavs’ 117-113 victory over Orlando secured the fourth seed in the East and home-court advantage in the first round.

Donovan Mitchell, whose 43 points for Cleveland on Tuesday was his fourth straight 40-point game, sat out along with Evan Mobley, Jarrett Allen, Darius Garland, Caris LeVert and Isaac Okoro.

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Green, the 35-year-old veteran signed as a free agent by Cleveland in February after he was waived by Houston, drained five three-pointers.

TAGS: 76ers, Jimmy Butler, Joel Embiid, Miami Heat, NBA

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