Still perfect at home, Sixers ready for Heat

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The Philadelphia 76ers look to remain as the only undefeated team at home when they host the Miami Heat on Wednesday.

The Sixers, playing without All-Star center Joel Embiid, were throttled 109-89 Sunday on the road against the Brooklyn Nets.

Still, the Sixers (20-8) will enter this game against the Heat (19-8) as the second-best team in the Eastern Conference and holding a perfect 14-0 home record.

Embiid, who was dealing with an upper respiratory illness, is expected to play against the Heat after returning to practice Tuesday.

“It was good,” Embiid said. “I feel OK. … I got some sweat in, being with the guys.”

That’s good news for the Sixers, especially after that Sunday disappointment.

“It’s a tough one,” guard Tobias Harris told Inquirer.com after the 20-point loss at Brooklyn. “I think what we can take from it is pretty much to learn from it, take two days to rest up and be ready for the next one and just get going.”

When Embiid is out, veteran Al Horford starts at center. Horford struggled after missing two games with a sore knee and hamstring and was 0-for-6 from 3-point territory and 5-for-15 overall against the Nets. However, he did manage 10 points, nine rebounds, five assists and three blocked shots.

“Physically, I felt fine,” Horford said. “You know, definitely a little off, timing, rhythm, stuff like that. I felt good about a lot of my possessions, offensively. Shots just didn’t go down like I expected them. But I’ll get back to work and get ready for the next one.”

The 20-point loss was the Sixers’ worst of the season and they’re 3-3 without Embiid in the lineup. But Philadelphia is now headed back home for three in a row beginning with the Heat.

“You kind of got to just chalk it up because we have another game in a couple of days,” guard Josh Richardson said of the next game against the Miami heat.

The Heat will attempt to bounce back from a disappointing 118-111 road loss to the Memphis Grizzlies on Monday.

Miami’s Jimmy Butler led the way with a game-high 25 points and Tyler Herro added 22. Derrick Jones Jr. scored 15 and Bam Adebayo recorded his sixth consecutive double-double with 14 points and 13 rebounds. Adebayo was named the Eastern Conference Player of the Week after three straight double-doubles the previous week.

“I love it. I love it for him,” Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra said of Adebayo. “He’s all about the right things. This won’t go to his head. It’s not like he is doing this for individual accolades.”

Though Butler reached at least 20 points for the ninth straight game, the Heat fell to a team with a record below .500 for the first time all season.

“Our defense was pretty poor all the way through,” Spoelstra said. “The zone defense gave us a little bit of life. I don’t know if it was because it got them out of rhythm or because we were just more active.”

Heat guard Dion Waiters remains out as he has been suspended by the team for the third time this season. This time, it’s a six-game suspension for reportedly posting a picture on social media spending time on a boat despite telling the team that he was sick.

Guard Goran Dragic (knee) missed the game against Memphis and it’s unclear if he’ll play against the Sixers.

–Field Level Media

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