76ers and Embiid shrug off boos to set up playoff meeting with Knicks

Joel Embiid showed why Philadelphia always has a shot at a long postseason run when he’s in the lineup.

Embiid had 23 points, 15 rebounds and one huge assist for Kelly Oubre Jr. during a three-point lead that led the 76ers to a 105-104 victory over the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference play-in tournament on Wednesday night.

Embiid emerged late from a quiet game — there were boos from 76ers fans as the team struggled — in the fourth quarter to bring the Sixers back from 14 down in the second half. Embiid, who missed 43 games this season and finished on a surgically repaired left knee, wasn’t a factor until his late surge, when Nicolas Batum and Buddy Hield sparked the 76ers in the second half. Batum had 20 points.

“A lot of cheering,” Embiid said with a smile after the game. “We stayed together. It just shows that I’m not playing my best, that I don’t get into my place until the fourth quarter, and that we still find a way to win.”

The 76ers earned the No. 7 seed and advance to face the second-seeded New York Knicks in the opening round of the Eastern Conference playoffs. Game 1 is Saturday at Madison Square Garden.

The Heat – who went from the play-in tournament to the NBA Finals a year ago – meet the Chicago Bulls on Friday night, with the winner getting the No. 8 seed and a matchup with the top seed Boston Celtics.

Chicago hosted Friday’s meeting with the Sixers after Coby White scored a career-high 42 points in a 131-116 win over the Atlanta Hawks.

White, whose previous high was 37, went hard at the rim all game and had fans chanting his name as the Bulls rolled past the Hawks.

“I’m just grateful to be where I am. That first playoff series I ever had in my career didn’t go the way I wanted it to. And last year I played better in the play-in, but this year I didn’t come into the game saying I would field the team [on my back]. I just wanted to be aggressive and take what the defense gave me and try to lead.”

Dejounte Murray led Atlanta with 30 points. But the Hawks fell short again after dropping their final six regular season games. Nikola Vucevic had 24 points and 12 rebounds for Chicago. DeMar DeRozan finished with 22 points and nine assists.

Heat star Jimmy Butler had four steals in the first half and knocked down two free throws after he slipped and appeared to pinch his right knee, perhaps a reason why he scored only two points in the fourth. Butler said he would need an MRI on Thursday.

“I felt like I couldn’t do too much, which is bad because of the timing of the game and everything,” Butler said. “I hope I’m doing well. I hope I wake up tomorrow and can still stick around. Right now, I can’t stay like this.”