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Watch: Sixers beat Heat to book playoff date with Knicks, Bulls rout Hawks

The Philadelphia 76ers, fueled by 23 points from NBA Most Valuable Player Joel Embiid, rallied to beat the Miami Heat 105-104 on Wednesday and book a first-round playoff clash with the New York Knicks.

Embiid, still struggling for peak form after missing two months following knee surgery, stepped it up in the second half for the Sixers, who trailed by as many as 13 points in the third quarter in the NBA Play-in tournament clash.

Miami, who emerged from the play-in to reach the NBA Finals last year, can still make the playoffs.

On Friday they play a must-win game against the Chicago Bulls, who stampeded the Atlanta Hawks 131-116 to stay alive.

In Philadelphia, Embiid scored 13 points in the second half, drilling a go-ahead three-pointer with 2:33 left to play.

The lead would change hands twice before Embiid found Kelly Oubre Jr. in the lane for a basket and a free throw that put Philadelphia ahead for good with 36 seconds remaining.

Sixers reserve Nicolas Batum scored 17 of his 20 points in the second half and came up with a big block on Tyler Herro with 26.2 seconds left, the 76ers draining a series of free throws to seal the win.

Batum made six of the 76ers’ 12 three-pointers, and 76ers coach Nick Nurse credited his long-range shooting with helping Philadelphia break through against the Miami zone defense that frustrated them in the first half.

“He knew we needed some offense, needed to crack that zone with some perimeter shooting,” Nurse said. “He found some areas to get to and he just kept pulling the trigger.”

Teammate Tyrese Maxey called Batum “the star of the night,” but Embiid will be key to the 76ers’ fortunes against the second-seeded Knicks.

Their series starts on Saturday at Madison Square Garden.

“I thought he competed,” Nurse said of Embiid. “He competed late especially. I think it’s a good one to get under his belt … with a lot of intensity and a lot of minutes.”

The Heat will be keeping an eye on star Jimmy Butler, who was rocked by a collision under the basket with Oubre, who fell on Butler’s right leg late in the first quarter.

Butler stayed in the game and finished with 19 points and five steals but was limping noticeably by the end.

“It really stiffened up on him in the second half,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said of Butler’s knee, adding he had “no idea” if Butler would be able to play on Friday.

Herro led the Heat’s scoring with 25 points — 16 in the fourth quarter to help Miami keep the pressure on until the waning seconds.

White shines for Bulls

Miami will face a Bulls team energized by an emphatic victory over the Hawks.

Coby White scored a career-high 42 points, adding nine rebounds and six assists without a turnover.

Nikola Vucevic added 24 points and 12 rebounds and DeMar DeRozan scored 22 for the Bulls, who scored 40 points in the first quarter and never trailed after that.

Dejounte Murray led the Hawks with 30 points and Trae Young and Clint Capela had 22 apiece in the defeat that ended their playoff hopes.

Atlanta put up 45 points in the second quarter as they sliced an 18-point deficit to six at halftime, but the Bulls pulled away again in the second half, leading by as many as 23 points.

White, a candidate for Most Improved Player honors after earning a full-time starting spot for the Bulls this season, connected on 15 of 21 shots from the field.

“I’m just so grateful — about the progress, that work’s finally showing (and) the opportunity I was given by this organization,” White said.

“We’ve got another one Friday, we’ve got to push this playoff run,” added White, predicting Friday’s game in Miami — with a first-round meeting with the top-seeded Boston Celtics on the line — would be a “junkyard fight”.

Spoelstra vowed the Heat would be ready.

“We will do this the hard way,” Spoelstra said. “That has to be the path right now.”

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