Sixers understand importance of matchup with Heat in the standings

PHILADELPHIA — At this point in the season, with 15 games left for the Philadelphia 76ers, every game matters.

It has been a season filled with adversity when considering all the injuries to Joel Embiid, De’Anthony Melton, and others as well as guys being in and out of the lineup. Due to the challenges they have dealt with, the Sixers have dropped to the No. 8 seed in the East.

When Philadelphia plays host to the Miami Heat on Monday, it will be the third of four matchups between the two teams with the Heat taking the first two of the season series. It’s why Miami is currently the No. 7 seed as it holds the tiebreaker over the Sixers.

It makes the matchup on Monday that much more important in terms of the standings.

“Absolutely,” said Mo Bamba. “I think from that eight to four spot, there’s been a lot of movement in the last like week or so, and it’s something that we don’t necessarily monitor it, but we definitely look at it and just kind of see where we stand against other teams, because at the end of the day, it’s pretty important who you play first in the postseason.”

If the Sixers can get a win on Monday and then get one in Miami on April 4, the season series would be tied at 2-2. The next tiebreaker determination would be the better conference record and the Sixers would have a better chance at moving up in the standings and finishing ahead of the Heat.

“Absolutely,” Bamba added. “I’m sure it works where it’s tied like a series of 2-2, it comes down to like, record or it comes down to the points or however it goes, but as long as you kind of do what you got to do to win, it kind of takes care of itself.”

With that being said, coach Nick Nurse doesn’t want the Sixers to put more of an emphasis on this matchup than they would on any other game. Philadelphia wants to win all the time.

“We put all the emphasis we can on every game — seriously,” said Nurse. “We’re just trying to battle them. We’ve had two really competitive games with them. We haven’t ever really gotten to play them with our true lineup, but that’s OK — we’ve got to do it. Listen, they’re going to run fast, cut fast, move fast on offense. They play half-court offense at a really good pace. We’re going to have to be ready to run with them and fight through a lot of that stuff.”

The Sixers and the Heat will tip off at 7:30 p.m. EDT on Monday.

Story originally appeared on Sixers Wire