No Masking it: 76ers in Good Spot Tuesday to End Heat's Season

sixers nba

Doug Upstone

Monday, April 23, 2018 4:12 PM UTC

Monday, Apr. 23, 2018 4:12 PM UTC

Philadelphia will try to win a postseason series for the first time in six years, but can visiting Miami gets its act together defensively and stay alive in Game 5?

NBA Tuesday: Heat vs. 76ersFree NBA Pick: 76ers -10Best Line Offered: Heritage

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Often in life, you have to go through the tough times in order to enjoy the good times. Philadelphia sports fans are well aware of this. While nobody is expecting the Philadelphia 76ers to win an NBA championship this year, their future appears as bright as Amazon's.

On the other hand, Miami's stellar defense has been abused. During the regular season, the Heat was 4th in points allowed, 7th in field-goal percentage defense and 8th in defensive points per possession. In other words, Miami could lock down opponents. Yet twice in this series, the Heat defense was sliced and diced by Philadelphia like an episode of "Chopped" on the Food Network for 128 and 130 points.

The teams have not played since Saturday, when Philly took a 3-1 lead in the best-of-seven series. Miami is 4-11 ATS on two days rest, while Philadelphia is 11-4 ATS in the same scenario. The NBA odds have the 76ers as large 10-point home favorites for Game 5 on Tuesday (8 p.m. ET; TNT). What is the best side to be on?

Missed Opportunity Could Haunt Heat

If Miami loses this series, they will look to Game 4 as the missed opportunity. The Heat took a four-point lead into the fourth quarter and could not hold it, being outscored 27-19. Looking at the box score, it is hard to imagine in many fazes how they did not win.

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Philly only shot 42.9 percent, was a deplorable 7-for-31 from behind the arc, and committed a jaw-dropping 27 turnovers -- yet they won.

Two aspects stood out about the loss. First, an average game from the free-throw line would have been enough for Miami. For the year, Erik Spoelstra's team makes 75 percent of their free throws, but on Saturday, they were a pathetic 13 for 25. Six more makes from the charity stripe should have been the margin for a victory.

The other factor that has gone on the entire series, Miami was mauled on boards. Philadelphia has outrebounded the Heat in every contest (including by nine in Game 4) and holds a +31 edge for the series. Because of this, that is extra shot attempts for the Sixers and or taking away opportunities for the Miami's offense. There was nothing to suggest this would occur since these team's split the rebounding battle over four regular-season contests.

What to Expect for Outcome

Time to call it as it is for our NBA picks. No question, Philadelphia's mostly young team will be excited and jumpy to close out a series, which is tough to do. However, this series would already be over if Miami's Dwyane Wade didn't play like he was 25 again in Game 2.

Philly is the better team and has edges on the court, and oddsmakers posted this high a number for a reason. With Miami 1-10 ATS on the playoff road in Game 5s, let's side with Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons to advance and cover.

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