The Miami Heat were downsized ahead of Sunday night’s game against the Philadelphia 76ers, with backup center Dewayne Dedmon ruled out due to illness.
Dedmon was one of seven players listed as questionable by the Heat heading into Game 4 of the Eastern Conference semifinal series against the Philadelphia 76ers at the Wells Fargo Center.
“I think this will be resolved after today,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said of the severity of Dedmon’s illness. “But let’s see. It will be day by day.”
Spoelstra said Dedmon tested negative for COVID.
Dedmon emerged as a more significant element of the Heat’s rotation after 76ers center Joel Embiid returned in Friday’s Game 3 from the concussion and facial fracture that took him out of the first two games of the series.
After playing four minutes in the series opener when Embiid was away from the 76ers, Dedmon played 11 minutes in Game 2 and 12 minutes in Game 3.
Aside from Dedmon, the options for Spoelstra behind center Bam Adebayo are rookie Omer Yurtseven, or going undersized with starting winger PJ Tucker shifted to center.
Philadelphia coach Doc Rivers said before the game that he expected the Heat to be small.
“We talked before we heard about Dedmon, we really believed they would probably be smaller today anyway against our second unit,” he said 90 minutes before the game started.
Spoelstra said that Embiid would present challenges regardless of who was available.
“He’s an MVP caliber player,” he said. “He puts tremendous pressure on his team’s defense, his ability to attack, shoot, pass. And then, obviously, he also draws faults.”
Dedmon is on a minimum one-year veteran’s contract, to become a free agent on July 1.
good to go
Also listed as questionable by the Heat ahead of Sunday night’s game were Tyler Herro (sprained ankle), Kyle Lowry (sprained hamstring), Caleb Martin (sprained ankle), Max Strus (sprained hamstring), PJ Tucker (calf strain) and Gabe Vincent. (knee irritation).
All had played in Friday night’s Game 3, most similarly listed as questionable prior to that game. All were again cleared to play on Sunday.
The contrast is the approach that was taken prior to Friday’s Game 3, when the 76ers not only had Embiid listed as out earlier in the day, but even when his status changed to “doubtful” at noon, the team never changed this delineation before. Embiid went out to the center to jump on the snitch.
A $50,000 fine from the NBA to the 76ers was followed for failing to properly update their status.
With the Western Conference semifinal series between the Dallas Mavericks and Phoenix Suns tied at 2-2 and now secured in at least six games, a possible Heat-76ers Game 6 on Thursday in Philadelphia is set to begin at 7pm. . It would be 8pm if the Suns-Mavs ended in five.
Tuesday’s Game 5 of the Heat-76ers is at 7:30 pm at FTX Arena.
A potential Heat-76ers Game 7 at FTX Arena on Sunday will be at 3:30pm, 7:00pm, or 8:00pm depending on the length of other series.
If the Heat advance, the Eastern Conference Finals will begin on Sunday or May 17, depending on the length of the Heat-76ers and Milwaukee Bucks-Boston Celtics, which the Bucks lead 2-1.