76ers vs. Heat NBA Playoffs Game 5 Preview and Pick

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The Miami Heat and Philadelphia 76ers head back to Philadelphia for Game 6 of their Eastern Conference Semifinal series. The Heat now have a 3-2 lead. Can the 76ers avoid elimination tonight and be the winning NBA pick

Miami Heat vs. Philadelphia 76ers 

Thursday, May 12 – 7:00 PM EDT at Wells Fargo Center

Miami Heat 

The Miami Heat improved their shooting by being back in Miami, going 52.3% (45-86) from the field. After missing open shot after open shot in Game 4, the Miami Heat were able to find their mark back in their home arena. Did Miami figure something out, or will their shooting woes return back in Philadelphia?

Miami has been able to get open shots against the Philadelphia 76ers' defense in this series, they just haven't been able to knock down their open looks. Miami finally found the bottom of the net on a consistent basis in Game 5 and a blowout was the result. 

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The Heat received a variety of contributions from multiple players and their box score was well-rounded. All five Heat starters were in double figures for scoring, as well as two bench players. Miami was a balanced attack Tuesday night. Miami was able to get open looks consistently and they were sharing the wealth. 

Max Strus had numbers that stood out amongst the balanced attack, however. Strus, who is not known for his prodigious offensive output, had the second-highest point total on the team with 19 points. He added 10 rebounds and a solid defensive effort in only 27 minutes.

Max Strus had yet to have a big game in the series and it is no coincidence that his first big game coincided with the Heat's easiest win. 

Philadelphia 76ers 

Has Joel Embiid hit the wall? Embiid already had a sprained thumb, then he suffered a broken orbital against the Toronto Raptors. Embiid is wearing a mask and playing through it, but the myriad of injuries, plus the time off the court, which has affected his conditioning, led him to look defeated and fatigued in his minutes on Tuesday night.

Many players would not even be on the court after suffering a broken orbital, but Embiid is doing his best for the team. At this point we have to wonder though, is he out of strength? Or will Embiid bounce back in the friendly confines of Philadelphia? 

James Harden also suffered a rough night in Miami. After a 31-point explosion in Game 4, he only had 14 points in Tuesday night's game. Harden was only 5-13 of the field from the field and only had four assists, both unusually low numbers for the Sixers' lead guard.

Harden will definitely need to play better tonight if the 76ers are to have a chance to get the victory. 

What Is the Key Matchup? 

Bam Adebayo vs. Joel Embiid  

If Joel Embiid is not able to put forth an MVP-caliber performance tonight, the 76ers have very little chance to win. The Heat need to make it tough on Embiid by having Adebayo be as active and as physical as possible against the 76ers leader. Embiid is wearing down physically and Bam Adebayo is a quick, strong, athletic player who can give Embiid plenty of problems.  

Adebayo must be conscious not to let Embiid get any easy baskets and make him work for everything in an effort to wear down the deteriorating big man. If Adebayo is able to hold Embiid to another subpar night, the Miami Heat can end the series in tonight's matchup. If Joel Embiid returns to his MVP-caliber level play, this one's going seven. 

Best Bet 

There are two ways to approach this game from a wagering perspective; the first is through the total. The Under is 3-2 so far in this series and I believe it will be our fourth Under this evening. If Embiid is not 100%, this game has blowout potential and blowouts most usually go under.

Not to mention the pressure of an elimination game will slow down the pace, especially in the second half. Our first bet for tonight's pivotal Game 6 is the Miami Heat/Philadelphia 76ers Under 207. 

I think Joel Embiid is worn down. Embiid must be given credit for trying to play through a myriad of injuries that would send many players to the bench. While Embiid's fighting spirit is there, his body is not able to answer the call. The team is so dependent on Embiid to be at a high level, that this severely impairs the 76ers chance of winning.

At this stage in his career, James Harden can no longer carry a team to victory in the playoffs. The Miami Heat are a tough, balanced team and will be looking to close this one out tonight. Our second bet for tonight's Game 6 is the Miami Heat -2.5. Don't forget to place your bet at a top-rated sportsbook.

NBA Pick: Under 207 (-108) at BookMaker (visit our BookMaker Review)

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76ers Under 207 (-108)
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NBA Pick: Miami Heat +2 (-108) at BookMaker

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Miami Heat +2 (-108)
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*The line and/or odds on picks in this article might have moved since the content was commissioned. For updated line movements, visit BMR’s free betting odds product.