The Sixers will begin the second round NBA playoff series against the top seeded Miami Heat on Monday, but most of the attention remains on Joel Embiid’s eye.
Game 1 begins at 7:30 p.m. at FTX Arena in Miami, but Embiid didn’t travel with the team due to an orbital fracture near his right eye and a concussion he suffered in the Sixers’ Game 6 win over the Toronto Raptors. While the team hasn’t offered a timeline for his return, ESPN reports there is some optimism he could be back on the court as soon as Game 3 or Game 4.
Of course, the series could be nearly over by then if James Harden and his perfect Philly beard don’t pick up the slack. As Inquirer Sixers beat writer Keith Pompey pointed out in a recent piece, Harden has appeared a step slow on the court and is shooting career lows from the field and on three-pointers.
The series also features the Philly return of Jimmy Butler, who played for the Sixers in the 2018-19 season before being sent to Miami in a sign-and-trade that earned them Josh Richardson, who currently plays for the San Antonio Spurs. Butler is dealing with some soreness in his right knee, but has said he expects to play Monday. He’s listed as questionable, while All-Star point guard and Philadelphia native Kyle Lowry will miss the game with a hamstring injury.
Monday’s game won’t air on NBC Sports Philadelphia, which only had TV rights through the first round of the playoffs. It will air exclusively on TNT, which is available on a host of streaming services, including Hulu With Live TV, DirecTV Stream, Sling TV, or YouTube TV. But if you happen to be a FuboTV subscriber, you’re out of luck — despite being a sports-focused cord-cutting option, the streaming service lost TNT and TBS back in 2020 and hasn’t yet agreed to a new carriage deal with WarnerMedia.
Here’s everything you need to know to watch or stream Game 1 between the Sixers and the Heat:
Sixers vs Heat Game 1: Eastern Conference semifinals
When: Monday, May 2
Where: FTX Arena, Miami
Time: 7:30 p.m.
TV: TNT (Spero Dedes, Grant Hill, Chris Haynes)
Radio: 97.5 The Fanatic (Tom McGinnis)
Streaming: TNT app (requires cable authentication), Sling TV, Hulu Live, YouTube TV (all require a subscription)
In the latest edition of the Locked on Sixers podcast, Pompey and 97.5 The Fanatic’s Devon Givens have a full preview of the game and series against the Heat.
TNT’s NBA Pre-game Show will start at 7 p.m., hosted by Ernie Johnson and featuring Kenny Smith, Shaquille O’Neal, and former Sixers great Charles Barkley. The crew will also return at halftime and for a special playoff edition of Inside the NBA following Game 1 between the Dallas Mavericks and the Phoenix Suns.
On NBC Sports Philadelphia, Sixers Pregame Live starts at 7 p.m., hosted by Amy Fadool alongside Jim Lynam and Marc Jackson. The three will return for Sixers Postgame Live following the game. Sixers Outsiders will follow, featuring 97.5 The Fanatic’s Tyrone Johnson and Krystle Rich.
Sixers-Heat playoff schedule
Here’s the full Eastern Conference semifinal playoff schedule between the top seeded Heat and the Sixers, with some start times yet to be determined:
Game 1: Monday, May 2, 7:30 p.m., in Miami (TNT)
Game 2: Wednesday, May 4, 7:30 p.m., in Miami (TNT)
Game 3: Friday, May 6, 7 p.m., in Philadelphia (ESPN)
Game 4: Sunday, May 8, 8 p.m., in Philadelphia
Game 5: Tuesday, May 10, in Miami (TNT)*
Game 6: Thursday, May 12, in Philadelphia (ESPN)*
Game 7: Sunday, May 15, in Miami*
* - if necessary
More to read about the Sixers
Columnist Marcus Hayes is confident the Sixers can win without Embiid, just like the Eagles managed to win the Super Bowl without Carson Wentz.
Columnist David Murphy says the Sixers and head coach Doc Rivers must think outside the box to have a shot of defeating the Heat.
Meanwhile, Sixers fans have been venting over Embiid’s sidelining injury: “We just can’t catch a break.”
Rivers defended his decision to leave Embiid in late during a blowout. “After Joel made the shot and did the [celebratory] airplane, if you watched the game, I turned and said, ‘I’m calling a timeout on the next possession.’ "
Paul Reed is embracing his increased role during the Sixers’ playoff run. “He’s a gym rat,” teammate Georges Niang said of Reed, “and the basketball gods reward guys like that.”