Stephen A. Smith picking Heat to beat Sixers in Round 2 of the playoffs

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The Philadelphia 76ers are not quite done yet with Round 1 of the NBA Playoffs in their matchup with the Toronto Raptors. Joel Embiid drilled a ridiculous game-winning triple with 0.8 seconds left in overtime to give the Sixers a 3-0 lead so it’s essentially done, but they still have work to do.

No team in NBA history has ever come back from an 0-3 deficit to win a playoff series and that is what the Sixers and the Raptors are dealing with at the moment.

If Philadelphia can take care of business and move on, their likely opponent would be Jimmy Butler and the Miami Heat. They have a 2-0 series lead in their Round 1 matchup with the Atlanta Hawks and on First Take, Stephen A. Smith discussed the potential matchup and he is leaning towards the Heat, but acknowledges that the Sixers have a strong chance:

(Tyrese) Maxey and his evolution is something to pay attention to, no doubt about it, but consider what Miami has in its arsenal. Consider Jimmy Butler who just dropped 45. Consider the athleticism and mobility of a Bam Adebayo. Consider the shooting of the Duncan Robinsons and the Tyler Herros of the world. Consider the experience of Kyle Lowry and the PJ Tucker of the world, and they got some young bruhs that they’ve developed nicely. So when you look at it from that perspective, even though I wouldn’t be surprised if the Sixers were to beat Miami assuming because we think that Miami is gonna beat Atlanta and we know Philadelphia is gonna beat Toronto, assuming that that’s the series, I’m of the mindset Philadelphia can beat them, but they wouldn’t be the favorites. I would be picking Miami to win that series. I really, really would because listen, I think it’s one of those situations where it’s gonna be tough. Embiid’s gonna show up. I have no doubt, but I think quite a few people are gonna show up for Miami, and collectively, they might be a bit too much unless (James) Harden becomes just a little bit more Houston rather than what he’s been. Maxey can give you your points and I get all that, and Tobias Harris, I’m not ignoring his contribution and how pivotal he will be, but I think that James Harden with 19 points and six or eight assists, that ain’t gonna cut it in that series against Miami. He’s going to need to do more.

Smith is probably right when he says that Harden will need to do more in that series. He is being a bit of a basketball maestro at the moment as he has done an excellent job of setting up his teammates, but against the Heat, he will need to score more. Unless Maxey and Harris continue to step up and help Embiid.

This post originally appeared on Sixers Wire! Follow us on Facebook!

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