NBA play-in: The 76ers overcame a sluggish first half and cruised past the Heat to set up a first-round matchup with the Knicks.

For one half on Wednesday, the Miami Heat's zone defense flustered the Philadelphia 76ers and prompted boos from the home crowd at the Wells Fargo Center. A hot run from the 3 and a free chicken ad fired up the 76ers and their fans as Philadelphia rallied from a 14-point deficit 105-104 in the NBA playoffs.

With the win, the 76ers entered the Eastern Conference playoffs as the No. They are seeded No. 7 and face the No. 2 New York Knicks in the first round. The loss against the Chicago Bulls in Friday's play-in elimination game left the Atlanta Hawks defeated in their play-in matchup. Winner will get 8th position. A losing season ends.

The Heat may be short-handed for that game. Athlete Shams Sarania, Jimmy Butler is feared to have an MCL injury in the first half of Wednesday's game. He will have an MRI to determine the nature of the injury, according to the report. Butler injured his knee A drop in the first quarter. He limped up and played the rest of the game. He slowly made his way down the tunnel of the Wells Fargo Center postgame.

Heat dominated the first half

Miami outscored Philadelphia 51-39 in a sluggish first half. Shooting 32.6% from the field and 3 of 18 (16.7%) from 3, the 76ers were unable to work through or above the hot zone.

Philadelphia's 11th half allowed Miami to take a 37-26 lead, prompting cheers from the home crowd. A 9-0 Heat run capped by a Tyler Herro 3 gave Miami a 51-37 lead and sparked huge cheers from the Philadelphia faithful. 76 people saw the completion.

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76, after half time the crowd came alive

But the crowd woke up midway through the quarter when Miami's Caleb Martin missed two free throws, prompting a free chicken commercial.

When the 76ers responded with a 5-0 run to cut Miami's lead to 59-53, the fans went wild. Nicholas Bottom led a 3-point barrage that cut their deficit to 74-69 as the 76ers went 5 of 9 from long range in the third quarter. Batum's fifth 3 early in the fourth gave the 76ers a 79-76 lead, their first since the first quarter.

From there, the game was a back-and-forth contest that saw Philadelphia pull away in the final minute. Trailing in the final seconds, the 76ers extended their free throws as Miami tried to stretch the game.

Embiid struggles, still leading by 76

Joel Embiid scored 11 in the fourth. After sitting out the season finale to retire 29 games into the regular season with a knee injury, he had his best game against Miami when he shot 6 of 17 from the field. He still managed 23 points, a game-high 15 rebounds and five assists. Batum made six 3-pointers off the bench in a 20-point, five-rebound effort.

After turning the ball over 11 times in the first half, the 76ers scored 15 runs for the game. They went 9 of 17 from 3 in the second half

Jimmy Butler led the defensive attack for Miami in the first half and had 19 points, five assists, four rebounds and five steals. His steals repeatedly led to easy buckets on the other end for the Heat. Tyler Herro overcame a poor shooting night (9 of 27) to lead the Heat with 25 points and nine assists. Bam Adebayo held his own against Embiid with 10 points and 12 rebounds.

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But the Heat eventually faded as their defense failed to slow Philadelphia's 3-point shooting in the second half.

How will the 76ers fare against the Knicks?

The win sets up an interesting first-round playoff matchup between Philadelphia and New York. With the MVP candidate on the sidelines, the 76ers now have Embiid back in the lineup, safely in the playoffs, after falling in the play-in tournament. If he's near full strength for their Game 1 matchup and beyond, the 76ers won't be a normal 7th line.

Meanwhile, the Knicks won't be playing at full strength. All-Star Julius Randle is out for the season with a shoulder injury. However, OG Anunoby is back after missing 27 games in the second half of the season with an elbow injury. Played in the final six games of the regular season.

Game 1 between the Knicks and 76ers is scheduled for Saturday at 6 p.m. at Madison Square Garden.

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