The Miami Heat will be getting a whole new slate of fans after the Philadelphia Sixers eliminated Toronto from the playoffs on Thursday, April 28, and Raptors superfan, Grammy-award-winning rapper Drake, is leading the charge.
After the Raptors lost 132-97 to Philadelphia in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference playoff series, the “Hotline Bling” performer personally approached Joel Embiid and said, “Now ya’ll about to get swept by Miami,” as the Sixers will face the No. 1 seed, the Heat, in the second round.
A video of the moment quickly went viral on Twitter, racking up over 450,000 views by Friday afternoon.
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Following Drake’s lead, numerous Raptors fans started tweeting out their support for the Heat to crush the Sixers. It’s a natural reaction not only because they’re angry at Philadelphia for ending their NBA season early, but the Heat also have the Raptors’ still beloved former superstar player, Kyle Lowry, as their point guard.
In a postgame interview, Embiid compared the Raptors’ style of playing to that of the Heat. “I think Toronto actually prepared us extremely well for them because you know they basically got the same skills,” the MVP candidate said.
“They gonna switch everything, they got a big fellow that can guard 1 -5 so this was good preparation for us. But we know what we gotta do. As long as we take care of what we can control, play hard offensively and defensively, moving the ball, rebounding the ball – we’ll be fine.”
Sixer head coach Doc Rivers said of facing the Heat, “They’re good, they’re deep, they’re veterans. We’re going to go play grown men and we’re looking forward to the challenge.”
Bam Adebayo Is Ready to Shut Embiid Down
While Embiid sounds like he has Miami figured out, Heat star Bam Adebayo has a plan to thwart the 7-foot center, who’s averaged 26.2 points per game in the six-game series against the Raptors.
“You’re going to have to double him, pretty simple,” Adebayo said. “Getting the ball out of his hands, making it difficult, just giving him difficult shots and not letting him get in a rhythm.”
As for Heat’s head coach Erik Spoelstra, he’s masterminding the team’s approach to shutting Embiid down. “One, I don’t have that answer right now. Two, I don’t know if we’ll get that answer. It’s not like you’re going to be able to stop a guy who’s an MVP player. The point is we have to be consistent. We have to make it tough on their main guys and do that consistently, and hopefully just wear on the team and get them out of their comfort zones.”
5 Players Were on the Heat’s Injury Report on Friday
One of the biggest questions leading up to Game 1 against the Sixers, which is scheduled for Monday, May 2 at 7:30 p.m. ET at the FTX Arena in Miami, is whether or not two of the team’s biggest stars, Lowry and Jimmy Butler, will be ready to go.
The Heat announced on Friday, April 29 that five players didn’t participate in practice: Caleb Martin (left ankle), P.J. Tucker (right calf), Tyler Herro (respiratory illness), Lowry (left hamstring), and Butler (right knee).
Spoelstra said on Friday that he’s not yet ready to offer a forecast on which players will be ready to go on Monday night. “Physically, each day we’ll get a better idea,” Coach Spo said. “But everybody has made progress. Everybody was doing something, whether it was in the practice or on the side. I took that as an encouraging sign.”
As for Butler and Lowry, “I don’t want to jump the gun on anything. I just like the progress that everybody’s made. We’ll see if they can make more progress tomorrow. It will just be a daily update.”