The Philadelphia 76ers’ schedule will remain daunting throughout the remainder of the regular season.
And after they endured an excruciating 110-107 loss to the Boston Celtics on Saturday, the Sixers must respond quickly with a home game Monday against the Miami Heat.
Boston’s Jayson Tatum hit the game-winning 3-pointer with 1.3 seconds remaining. Philadelphia’s Joel Embiid then heaved a 75-footer that splashed through the net, although the ball was still in his hands as time expired.
The loss overshadowed another MVP-like performance from Embiid, who had 41 points, 12 rebounds and five assists. He also had three blocked shots.
Embiid has five games of at least 40-10-5 this season, tied for the second-most in the NBA and the most he has ever had in a single season.
At this stage in Embiid’s career, he wants to win. He has not advanced past the Eastern Conference semifinals since arriving in the NBA. But he has enough big-game experience to know the double teams are coming, especially in the postseason.
“So I thought, I did pretty well tonight,” Embiid said. “That’s a good step for me because obviously, playoffs and with the remaining games I’m going to be doubled every single night. So, I got to find a way to get closer to the basket or just not letting them double me and just attack quick.”
The difficult schedule figures to help the Sixers because they’ll need to fine tune the little things that ultimately decide games in the playoffs.
“Well, it’s a game that comes down to single plays,” Sixers head coach Doc Rivers said. “That was a very playoff game-ish atmosphere. You know, I can look at little plays, not the last one. The last one, I’ll live with that.”
The Heat struggled with losses to the Denver Nuggets and Brooklyn Nets before the All-Star break.
Miami has continued to scuffle following the break with losses to the Milwaukee Bucks and Charlotte Hornets.
The Heat fell 108-103 to the Hornets on Saturday despite six 3-pointers and 33 points from Tyler Herro and 28 points from Jimmy Butler. Newly signed Kevin Love added 13 points and 13 rebounds.
“This is a point in the year where we can either come together or we can go away and split,” Herro said.
The Heat fell behind by 22 points yet mounted a furious rally to pull within one in the final two minutes. They failed to score on their final four possessions.
The result was another loss in a frustrating stretch of defeats for a team that had aspirations of a deep playoff run.
“We put ourselves in a hole and it’s just tough to get out of in this league with a bunch of good teams and good players,” Herro said. “That’s on us as players to bring our best effort every night.”
The Heat’s Kyle Lowry continued to sit out with left knee soreness. Lowry hasn’t played since Feb. 2 against the New York Knicks and it’s unclear if he’ll play against the Sixers.
“He’s working and making sure that he’s healthy,” Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra said. “That’s the most important thing as we move forward. He’s been able to grind through a lot of different pain and discomfort, because he’s tough and he’s a competitor. We want to get him feeling right and getting him the way he’s capable of moving.”
–Field Level Media