PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Jimmy Butler and Tyler Herro each scored 24 points and the Miami Heat kept alive their hopes of avoiding the NBA’s play-in tournament with a 129-99 victory over the Philadelphia 76ers on Thursday night.
Max Strus and Bam Adebayo both added 14 points. Miami started fast, leading 41-31 after a quarter.
The Heat (43-37) would have to win both of their remaining games (at Washington and home against Orlando) and have Brooklyn lose both home games this weekend (to Orlando and Philadelphia) to move into the No. 6 spot and avoid the play-in round. Miami took the Southeast Division title with the win.
Butler had five assists and four rebounds.
Philadelphia (52-27) has already secured the third spot in the Eastern Conference playoffs. A win Thursday night would have sealed a first-round matchup against Brooklyn. Joel Embiid scored 21 points despite not playing in the fourth quarter. James Harden chipped in 14 in limited minutes.
SCORING RACE WATCH
With Embiid’s 21 points Thursday, his 33.1 point per game average is still ahead of Denver’s Nikola Jokic, who sits second at 32.7 points a game. Jokic was listed as out on Denver’s injury report Thursday night at Phoenix.
Embiid was the 2021-22 scoring champion, beating out Jokic for the honor of being the first foreign-born player to win the scoring title.
Heat: Kyle Lowry was in the lineup despite being listed as questionable with left knee soreness, scoring 11 points in 22 minutes. Lowry has not played more than 30 minutes in a game since recording 36 in an overtime game against Orlando on March 11.
76ers: Tyrese Maxey was held out with neck stiffness. ... De’Anthony Melton suffered a right calf strain in the third quarter and did not return. ...Prior to the game, Rivers said that the Sixers have a plan on how to manage the workload of their starter heading into the final weekend and a pair of road games, but wanted to balance it with not having too much rust caused by the week between the end of the regular season and the start of the first round April 15.
Heat: At Washington on Friday night.
76ers: At Atlanta on Friday night.