3 Players who must step up for the 76ers to beat the Heat

The Philadelphia 76ers take on the Miami Heat tomorrow night for the seventh seed in the 2024 NBA Playoffs. Here are three players who should step up for Philly.
76ers, Buddy Hield
76ers, Buddy Hield / Kyle Ross-USA TODAY Sports
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3 Players who must step up for the 76ers to beat the Heat

1. Tobias Harris

The easiest shoo-in on this list, Philadelphia’s fate could very well be decided by which version of Tobias Harris suits up. Will the 76ers have the efficient tertiary scorer who can punish mismatches and be physical on defense against Jimmy Butler? Or will they once again grow wear of the version of his who tends to disappear for long stretches on both ends?

This season, the 76ers are 18-9 when Harris registers at least 20 points in a game, which is far from surprising given Philly’s more eclectic attack when he’s able to capitalize on the tremendous defensive pressure wreaked by Embiid and Maxey. It’s not off-tangent from Miami’s brain trust to encourage Harris to shoulder the scoring load and gang up on the two All-Stars, and if so, his performance will be the decider.

Harris is also important on the defensively. While Nic Batum will most likely draw first blood on Butler, Miami can be pretty rowdy offensively. The 76ers will need every inch of his length and every ounce of his grunt to stay competent on defense and avoid an uncharacteristic supernova from the Heat on the scoring end. After all, this could be his coup de grace with the franchise.

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