How to watch Sixers vs. Heat Game 2: Live stream, storylines, game time and more

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Noah Levick
·4 min read
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Sixers still have a lot of options on the table after Nets' trade for Harden originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia

The 8-4 Sixers will look to sweep their mini-series against the 4-5 Heat on Thursday night.

Here are the essentials: 

  • When: 7 p.m. with Sixers Pregame Live at 6:15 p.m. 

  • Where: Wells Fargo Center 

  • Broadcast: NBC Sports Philadelphia 

  • Live stream: NBCSportsPhiladelphia.com and the MyTeams app 

And here are three storylines to watch: 

Staying relatively young (for now) 

Multiple reports on Wednesday indicated the Sixers were one of two finalists for James Harden, who is now officially a Net thanks to a deal involving Brooklyn, the Rockets, Cavs and Pacers. The Athletic’s Shams Charania reported Wednesday night that the Sixers made an offer that included Ben Simmons, Matisse Thybulle and draft compensation. 

Putting aside the question of what draft compensation the Sixers offered, one of the major takeaways from Wednesday’s high-drama negotiations is that the Sixers were reportedly willing to part with Simmons. President of basketball operations Daryl Morey technically kept true to his on-the-record statement last month that the team wasn’t trading Simmons, but it appears they weren’t far from doing so. 

There are many other relevant considerations, but it’s notable that Simmons is 24 years old and Thybulle 23. Harden is 31 and under contract for two more seasons, with a player option in 2022-23. He’s been very dependable in terms of health and availability throughout this career, even if he didn’t enter this season in peak physical condition. Still, the urgency to win now would’ve clearly increased if the Sixers managed a Harden trade. Of course, the whole purpose of doing a deal would’ve been improving the team’s short-term odds. 

The Sixers have flexibility and a lot of options leading into the March 25 trade deadline. The team has most of the taxpayer mid-level exception left and an $8.2 million trade exception from the Al Horford-Danny Green trade. 

Bradley Beal is another star who’d provide high-level perimeter scoring, and The Ringer’s Kevin O’Connor has reported the Sixers are known to have interest in him.

Reinforcements for the Sixers

It seems no NBA injury report is short these days.

However, a few key Sixers will return Wednesday night, which is certainly good news for the team. Shake Milton, Tobias Harris and Matisse Thybulle are all set to play after being sidelined by the league's health and safety protocols, head coach Doc Rivers said. Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons are also available after being earlier listed as probable with back tightness and left knee swelling, respectively. 

Eight Heat players are still out for health and safety reasons. Meyers Leonard (left shoulder strain) also won't play, meaning Miami will again have the minimum of eight players. 

A ‘big believer’ in Embiid 

With all due respect to Precious Achiuwa and Chris Silva, the competition wasn’t the best for Embiid in the Sixers’ overtime win Tuesday night over Miami. 

Still, it’s difficult to overstate how excellent he has been. His defensive impact should be obvious, but Embiid has scored with great efficiency to begin the season. He’s shooting 38.7 percent from three-point range, making 86 percent of his free throws and posting 135.0 points per 100 shot attempts. That final figure is third on the Sixers behind Seth Curry and Dwight Howard, per Cleaning the Glass, which is remarkable given that Embiid easily leads the team in usage rate.

Howard has been impressed, though not surprised. 

“I’m really proud of Joel and how he’s handled himself this year,” Howard said Tuesday. “I’m a big believer in him. I think he has the potential to be one of the greatest big men to ever play basketball. It’s really on him and how bad he wants it. I just want to be there for him, and just push him, because I really believe in him. He showed tonight what he’s capable of and what he can do, really, for his whole career. We’ve just got to continue to trust him, he’s got to continue to trust us and, like he’s always been saying, trust the process — because it is a process. 

“It takes time to be great. I’m super happy with how we played tonight. He did an amazing job. He hit some big shots, (got) big stops on defense, big steals. He had an overall great game. I’m super impressed and happy to see the success that he’s had so far in his career and I just want him to continue to believe and push himself.”

OddsMoney LinePoint SpreadTotal Points
LA Lakers
-162-3.5O 221.5
Philadelphia
+135+3.5U 221.5