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Nicolas Batum plays hero for 76ers with block in play-in win over Heat

There may have been no bigger performance than Nicolas Batum in Philadelphia’s 105-104 win over the Heat in the NBA Play-In Tournament on Wednesday night.

Batum had 20 points, six 3-pointers, five rebounds and a crucial block late in the game.

That block essentially sealed the victory for the 76ers, who trailed by 12 points at the end of the first half.

The clutch play occurred less than 30 seconds into the game.

With the Heat losing 99-96, Tyler Herro was going for a big 3-pointer, but his attempt was blocked by Batum, who somehow made it in time.


Nicolas Batum was a big hero for the 76ers in their win over the Heat in the play-in tournament.
Nicolas Batum was a big hero for the 76ers in their win over the Heat in the play-in tournament. USA TODAY Sports (via Reuters Con)

The 35-year-old veteran’s impact was felt on both ends of the floor in Philadelphia’s comeback.

He picked up his game in the second half, scoring 17 of his 20 points in the final two quarters.

“His defensive versatility is second to none.” Tyrese Maxey had this to say about Batum after the game:. “Tonight he protected his hero, he protected.” [Jimmy] Butler, he guarded Bam Adebayo at times. What he’s doing for this team is remarkable. we are grateful to him. We’re going to need him eventually, and he’s a big part of what we’re trying to do. He hit some big shots tonight. ”

Maxey also called Batum “the star of the night.”


    Nicolas Batum stopped Tyler Herro late in the 76ers' play-in win Wednesday night.
Nicolas Batum stopped Tyler Herro late in the 76ers’ play-in victory Wednesday night. ESPN

The Sixers’ victory sets up a first-round showdown with the Knicks starting Saturday at Madison Square Garden.

Game 1 is scheduled to tip off at 6 p.m.

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