Philadelphia 76ers' Kyle Lowry, center, looks to pass the ball...

Philadelphia 76ers' Kyle Lowry, center, looks to pass the ball while losing his balance during the second half of an NBA basketball play-in tournament game against the Miami Heat, Wednesday, April 17, 2024, in Philadelphia.  Credit: Chris Szagola

PHILADELPHIA — Joel Embiid showed why Philadelphia always has a shot at a long postseason run as long as he’s in the lineup. Embiid had 23 points, 15 rebounds and one huge assist to Kelly Oubre Jr. on a go-ahead three-point play that led the 76ers to a 105-104 win over the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference play-in tournament on Wednesday night. The 76ers earned the No. 7 seed and advanced to play the second-seeded New York Knicks in the opening round of the Eastern Conference playoffs. Game 1 is Saturday at Madison Square Garden.

The Heat — who went from the play-in tourney to the NBA Finals a year ago — play the winner of the night's late play-in game between Chicago and Atlanta on Friday night, with the winner getting the No. 8 seed. Embiid exploded out of a quiet game late in the fourth and carried the 76ers back from 14 down in the second half.

Embiid, who missed 43 games this season, was a non-factor as Nicolas Batum and Buddy Hield improbably sparked the 76ers in the second half. Batum had 20 points. But when the Sixers needed big buckets, who else was there but their big man?

Embiid buried a go-ahead three-pointer from the top of the arc with 2;33 left in the game for a 93-91 lead that sent a crowd — that had about booed the 76ers out of the building at the half — into a frenzy.

After the 76ers blew that lead, Embiid again was clutch with a three-point play for a 96-94 lead. With the game tied 96-all, Miami's Tyler Herro was whistled for a backcourt violation.

Embiid slipped the ball to Oubre under the basket for the bucket, the free throw and a 99-96 lead they would not give up. The 76ers played this one like it was Game 7 — and with good reason. They like their chances against the upstart Knicks rather than playing for the No. 8 seed a date with the NBA's best, the Boston Celtics.

That's what Miami faces if it can get out of Friday's game and make the playoffs under this format for the second straight season. Herro — who hit a 3 at the horn to make it the final score — finished with 25 points and Jimmy Butler had 19.

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