Joel Embiid finds himself in the fourth quarter, now 76ers find themselves going against Knicks

2024 SoFi Play-In Tournament - Miami Heat v Philadelphia 76ers
2024 SoFi Play-In Tournament - Miami Heat v Philadelphia 76ers

That is what an Eastern Conference playoff game should look like.

It was physical, gritty, and there were moments of incredible shotmaking. Then there was Joel Embiid, looking completely gassed in the third quarter, bent over grabbing his shorts to catch his breath, bouncing back with 11 points in the fourth quarter and taking over with a couple of threes and a timely pass to Kelly Oubre Jr.

That and the best game Nicolas Batum has played all season was enough to get the Philadelphia 76ers a 105-104 win against the Miami Heat Wednesday night.

With the win, the 76ers advance as the No. 7 seed and will face the Knicks in the Eastern Conference playoffs starting Saturday at Madison Square Garden.

The Heat head back to Miami to host the winner of the Hawks vs. Bulls game on Friday night for the right to be the No. 8 seed and face Boston in the first round. You know the Celtics don't like the idea of getting the Heat in the first round.

Miami was in the zone in the first half. Literally. The Heat's zone defense threw the Sixers off balance, and Philly's offense got stagnant with a lot of passing around the perimeter. The 3s weren't falling for the 76ers, Miami got some transition buckets, and the Heat led by as many as 13.

What changed the game was a chicken run in the third quarter.

Philadelphia does a promotion where if an opposing player misses two free throws after a foul, the entire crowd gets free chicken nuggets from a popular fast food chicken chain not open on Sunday. Nothing motivates a crowd like free food, so they were going wild as Miami's Nikola Jovic missed two shots, and that momentum started to carry over. The 76ers got some stops, got out and ran, and started attacking players one-on-one in the zone, and the Heat couldn't stay in front of them.

By the fourth quarter it was a back-and-forth game.

Fortunately for the 76ers they had Batum. On a night nobody else on the team could get a 3-pointer to fall, Batum was 6-of-10 from beyond the arc (the rest of the team was 6-of-25).

They also had Embiid, who finished the night with 23 points and 15 rebounds.

Philadelphia is going to need more against New York, but for a night it was good enough.

Miami's stars didn't shoot the ball well. Tyler Herro led the Heat with 25 points but on 9-of-27 shooting. Jimmy Butler was 5-of-18 from the floor on his way to 19 points. While rookie Jaime Jaquez Jr. stepped up with a strong game off the bench and 15 points, it was not enough.