Sixers vs. Heat: Schedule for second-round playoff series released

The top-seeded Miami Heat stand between the Sixers and the team’s first conference finals appearance in 21 seasons.

On their third try, the Sixers sealed a second-round spot Thursday night with a 35-point Game 6 victory over the Raptors.

Their series against the Heat will begin Monday night in Miami. Below is the schedule for the best-of-seven series. Start times are to be determined beyond Game 3, as is television coverage for Game 4 and for Game 7 (if necessary).

  • Game 1: Monday, 5/2 at 7:30 pm in Miami (TNT)
  • Game 2: Wednesday, 5/4 at 7:30 pm in Miami (TNT)
  • Game 3: Friday, 5/6 at 7 pm in Philadelphia (ESPN)
  • Game 4: Sunday, 5/8 in Philadelphia
  • Game 5: Tuesday, 5/10 in Miami (TNT)
  • Game 6: Thursday, 5/12 in Philadelphia (ESPN)
  • Game 7: Sunday, 5/15 in Miami

The last Sixers-Heat playoff matchup came in 2018. Rookie of the Year Ben Simmons posted impressive averages in his first career postseason series (18.2 points on a 50 percent mark from the field, 71.4 percent from the foul line, 10.6 rebounds, 9.0 assists and 2.4 steals), and the Sixers handled Miami in five games.

Simmons was a prominent part of this Sixers season despite playing no games. After a long, winding saga, the Sixers traded the 25-year-old to the Nets along with Seth Curry, Andre Drummond and draft picks in exchange for James Harden and Paul Millsap.

The former teammate angle is most clearly compelling in this series with Jimmy Butler, a Sixer for 55 regular-season games in the 2018-19 season before he departed through a sign-and-trade that brought Josh Richardson to Philadelphia. Butler, who’s still close with Joel Embiid, missed Miami’s series-sealing Game 5 win over the Hawks with right knee inflammation. Philadelphia native and Villanova product Kyle Lowry sat out Games 4 and 5 because of a left hamstring strain.

Harden’s second straight playoff meeting with 36-year-old PJ Tucker is intriguing, too. Tucker was the primary defender on Kevin Durant last postseason when the Bucks squeaked past Brooklyn on their way to the championship. He’s notoriously tough and has a deep understanding of Harden’s game.

The Sixers and Heat split their four regular-season contests, although none of those games resembled what this series will be. Harden played in 21 of the Sixers’ 24 games after his Feb. 25 debut, but he was ruled out for two March matchups against Miami with a “left hamstring injury management” designation. Both games were on the second night of back-to-backs. Embiid (back soreness) also was out when the Sixers pulled off an unlikely shorthanded win on March 21.

Bam Adebayo, a lock to make his third straight All-Defensive team at 24 years old, was sidelined for the two pre-Harden Sixers-Heat games after having surgery in December to repair a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his right thumb. Embiid’s now the center with a torn thumb ligament, but he plans to play through the injury for the rest of the playoffs. Though Embiid can expect to see lots of double teams and the Heat’s zone defense has troubled the Sixers at times, the individual Embiid vs. Adebayo duel figures to be key.

The Heat won an East-best 29 home games this season and went 3-0 at FTX Arena in the first round against Atlanta. The Sixers, meanwhile, had a conference-leading 27-14 road record and are fresh off a convincing close-out victory in Toronto.

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