Philadelphia 76ers: Should the Sixers be considered the East favorites?

NBA All Star Game 2014

Australian Ben Simmons became the first rookie since 1980 with a triple double in a playoff game, helping spark the Philadelphia 76ers over the Miami Heat 106-102.

Turn back the clock seven months, and it seemed like most National Basketball Association experts and prognosticators pegged the Sixers to finish somewhere in the range of 40 to 45 wins, and a potential post-season berth as well.

But the reason why this Sixers team is so unsafe is because it's not just Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid.

"It's going to be lit", Embiid said. Game 5 returns to the City of Brotherly Love at the Wells Fargo Center on Tuesday.

"He's been doing it all season, that's why he's the rookie of the year", Embiid said of Simmons' latest star turn.

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The opportunity is there for the 76ers to advance to the NBA Finals, and Embiid sounded ready to seize it. The Warriors were disappointed, though far from devastated. We're a very good team.

Ettore Messina will coach the Spurs again in place of Gregg Popovich, who will miss his third straight game following the death of his wife. "Every game in this series has been tough".

The pair scored 28 of the Pelicans' final 29 points in Saturday's contest.

Miami had a prime chance to send this series back to the City of Brotherly Love all tied at two games apiece.

PRESSURE IS ON: Jabari Parker and Thon Maker. Al-Farouq Aminu scored 27, Damian Lillard added 19 points and Jusuf Nurkic had 18 points and 11 rebounds before fouling out. They managed all of two points in Boston, where Maker didn't even get in Game 1. The series has been filled with physical play and several bumps in the road, yet the Sixers lead 3-1 in the series. JJ Redick led the 76ers with 24 points in the win while Ben Simmons posted a triple-double with 17 points, 13 rebounds and 10 assists plus four steals. This proved detrimental to the Heat, who are known for their stingy defense, as they couldn't keep up with the fast pace and quick shooting of the Sixers. Philly needed at least one win in Miami to stay alive in this series, and it was impressive to see the Sixers handle themselves and stick to their business, despite all the trash talk and rage that was flying around the court.

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INJURY UPDATE: Forward Josh Richardson is questionable with a left shoulder sprain, and the Heat are also dealing with injuries to fellow starters Tyler Johnson (left thumb) and Goran Dragic (sore right knee).

However, many are also wondering if perhaps Rodney McGruder shouldn't receive more playing time.

PRESSURE IS ON: Miami's starters.

Despite the Heat's inability to contain Philadelphia's potent offense, Miami will not go down without a fight, and head coach Erik Spoelstra will draw up a great game plan.

The Heat has pulled off a comeback from down 3-1 before. Game 5, 10:30 p.m., TNT. "I think we have more room for growth. This definitely is one of the best first-round series that I've ever played in". When the 33-year-old shooting guard signed with the team last summer, the conventional wisdom suggested that the Sixers might be able to sneak into the postseason if everything worked out perfectly.

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