76ers rally behind Nic Batum and chicken promotion to beat Heat

There was a lot on the line in Wednesday night’s play-in tournament game between the Philadelphia 76ers and Miami Heat.

The winner would secure the seventh seed in the East and a first-round matchup with the New York Knicks, while the loser would need to win a do-or-die game on Friday night where the reward for winning is a date with the Boston Celtics.

In front of a hot crowd in Philadelphia, the Sixers pulled out a 105–104 win, but it was far from smooth sailing.

Boos rained down throughout the game as Philadelphia’s offense struggled through the first three quarters of action. But after the rocky start, two stars emerged for the Sixers: Nic Batum, and a chicken promotion.

Batum had his best game so far as a Sixer, hitting six of his 10 attempts from beyond the arc to finish with 20 points, good for second on the team. The rest of the team combined to go 6-for-25 on three-point attempts.

Along with Batum, was free chicken, the second hero of the night for the Sixers.

Philly fans spent much of the first half booing their own team as they looked utterly lost against the Heat’s zone defense. After trailing 51–39 at halftime, the 76ers needed a spark in the second half to find their footing.

At the Wells Fargo Center, if an opposing player misses two free throws at the line, everyone gets some free nuggets from Chick-fil-A. About halfway through the third quarter, Caleb Martin came up empty on a pair of free throws, sparking some loud cheers from the crowd.

The Sixers immediately followed the chicken-winning misses from the Heat with an 8-0 run, closing their deficit to a mere three points. While they wouldn’t overtake Miami until the fourth quarter, the energy had undeniably changed, and fans were quick to credit the chicken for the vibe shift.

Astonishingly, it wasn’t the first time a chicken promotion had made news in the NBA this week. On the final day of the regular season, beloved Rockets big man Boban Marjanović purposefully missed his second shot from the line as a favor to Clippers fans, winning them some chicken in the process.

With the win, the Sixers will tip off their series against the Knicks with Game 1 on Saturday at Madison Square Garden.

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