Heat vs. 76ers Takeaways: Miami Remains In Play-In Tournament Thanks To Nicolas Batum

Apr 4, 2024; Miami, Florida, USA;  Philadelphia 76ers forward Nicolas Batum (40) looks to pass; Credit: Jim Rassol-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 4, 2024; Miami, Florida, USA; Philadelphia 76ers forward Nicolas Batum (40) looks to pass; Credit: Jim Rassol-USA TODAY Sports / Jim Rassol-USA TODAY Sports

The Miami Heat battled with the Philadelphia 76ers until the final seconds on Wednesday evening, but were defeated 105-104. This forces them into a win-or-go-home matchup on Friday against the winner of the Atlanta Hawks-Chicago Bulls game.

Here's a look at five major takeaways:

1. Nicolas Batum was Philadelphia's unexpected hero in the victory.

No one expected the 35-year-old forward to haul the Sixers to the biggest win of the season. But Batum did, as he finished the night with a season-high 20 points and five rebounds on 6 of 10 shooting from three-point range. 17 of his points came in the second half. Not to mention, a block on guard Tyler Herro's game-tying three-point attempt was huge in the final minute of play. The Sixers will face Jalen Brunson and the New York Knicks in Round 1 of the NBA playoffs.

2. Jimmy Butler's poor efficiency sheds false light on his performance.

Butler was one of the best players on the floor for the Heat despite battling an apparent knee injury for the majority of the game. He was seen limping throughout the night and was eventually sidelined near the end of the game. His efficiency splits were not the most appealing, shooting 5 of 18 and 2 of 6 from three-point range. However, the six-time All-Star tallied 19 points, five assists, four rebounds, and a season-high five steals. The Heat's masterful defensive display was without a doubt the biggest contributor to their near-victory.

3. Herro's shooting woes vanished down the stretch.

Inconsistencies are Herro's biggest problem, but when it mattered most, the struggles were gone. The former Sixth Man of the Year recorded 16 points in the fourth quarter on 50 percent shooting, ending the evening with 25 points and nine assists. His ability to navigate the pick-and-roll was on full display with Bam Adebayo and Kevin Love, consistently making the right decision.

4. Joel Embiid found his rhythm in the final quarter.

The reigning MVP did not look like himself until the last 12 minutes of the night, where he began to dominate. He nailed two shots from the arc, which sparked an 11-point, four-rebound quarter for the big man. He tallied 23 points, 15 rebounds, and five assists in 38 minutes. Now, Embiid will look to prove the doubters wrong against the Knicks by shining on the biggest stage.

5. Both the Heat and Sixers co-stars had mediocre outings for their standards.

By no means did Tyrese Maxey or Bam Adebayo have disappointing showings, but it was a letdown compared to their usual level of play. Maxey finished with 19 points and six assists on 37.5 percent shooting and 1 of 6 shooting from the arc. Meanwhile, Adebayo scored 10 points along with 12 rebounds and two blocks on 5 of 9 shooting.

Anthony Pasciolla is a contributing writer to Inside The Heat. He can be reached at ampasciolla@gmail.com or followed on Instagram @anthony.pasciolla

Anthony Pasciolla