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Sixers win play-in game, clinch No. 7 seed  | The Triangle
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Sixers win play-in game, clinch No. 7 seed 

Photo by Tim Scott | Flickr

After a heroic comeback led by Joel Embiid, Tyrese Maxey and the unlikely hero of Nicolas Batum, the Philadelphia 76ers have defeated the Miami Heat 105-104 and clinched the No. 7 seed in the Eastern Conference. They will face the New York Knicks in the first round of the 2024 NBA playoffs.

Playing in the first play-in game in franchise history, it was crucial for the Sixers to secure this victory. Had the Sixers lost this matchup and then won the next game, they would have had to face the Boston Celtics, who are a significantly tougher team than the Knicks.

Embiid led the scoring with 23 points, but the aforementioned Batum was the star of the night. The Sixers forward hit six threes off the bench and provided a spark the team needed when down by double digits. Acquired in the James Harden trade, Batum has been a strong contributor all year and came through when the team needed him the most.

Maxey was solid, as well, pouring on 19 points, six assists and three rebounds. About to play in his fourth playoff run, the former Kentucky guard will have to be ready to provide a significant amount of the offense.

The path to the Eastern Conference finals looks fairly achievable for the Sixers, with the Milwaukee Bucks or the Indiana Pacers slated as the second round matchup should they advance.

Embiid just turned 30 years old and has yet to reach a conference finals in his career. His knee injury almost kept him out of the postseason all together, but he was able to return and the Sixers have not lost since. He is due for a long playoff run and the team looks ready to compete alongside him. This win is a stepping stone for what could be a historic Sixers season.