76ers hold off Heat, advance to face Knicks in first round

Joel Embiid collected 23 points and 15 rebounds and Nicolas Batum drained six 3-pointers to lift the host Philadelphia 76ers to a 105-104 victory over the Miami Heat in an NBA play-in game on Wednesday.

Batum finished with 20 points on 7-of-12 shooting from the floor, and Tyrese Maxey added 19 points. Kelly Oubre Jr. recorded 11 points and eight rebounds, and Tobias Harris added nine points and 10 boards.

The seventh-seeded 76ers outscored Miami 66-53 in the second half to set up an Eastern Conference first-round playoff series against the second-seeded New York Knicks. Game 1 of the best-of-seven series is Saturday in New York.

Miami’s Tyler Herro contributed 25 points and nine assists, and Jimmy Butler had 19 points, five assists and five steals.

Rookie Jaime Jaquez Jr. scored 15 points off the bench for the Heat, who will look to capture the eighth seed on Friday when they host the winner of Wednesday’s game between the Atlanta Hawks and Chicago Bulls.

Haywood Highsmith sank a floater to tie the score at 96-96 with 1:30 left. Oubre connected on a driving layup with 36 seconds left and made the ensuing foul shot to complete the three-point play.

Batum blocked Herro’s 3-pointer and Maxey made a pair of free throws to extend the lead to 101-96. Highsmith and Jaquez scored from in close to trim Miami’s deficit. Oubre and Maxey each sank a pair of free throws to create enough distance to overcome Herro’s free throw and 3-pointer in the waning moments.

Philadelphia overcame a 14-point deficit in the first half and seized a 79-76 lead after Batum sank his fifth 3-pointer with 8:58 remaining in the fourth quarter. Batum added his sixth just 47 seconds later and Embiid converted from beyond the arc to stake the 76ers to a 93-91 lead with 2:33 left.

Butler appeared to injure his right knee after a collision with Oubre with 1.5 seconds remaining in the first quarter. Butler, however, stayed in the game and recorded his fourth steal to set up Highsmith’s driving layup to give the Heat a 37-26 lead.