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I'm not sure that anyone pegged the 76ers to win this series against the Miami Heat, but I think that they probably put up a much better fight than anyone could have expected. But with their 97-91 loss in Game 5 to the Heat on Wednesday, bringing their season to a close. But when you are a young team like the 76ers, an opening round loss can be used as a learning experience. Our 76ers blog Liberty Ballers thinks this team is headed in the right direction.
There's still a ton of work to be done. Finding a capable big man or two is a necessity, and more shooters could always be had. But a foundation has been laid. I can envision a starting backcourt of Holiday-Turner contending for a title one day. I'm confident in Coach Collins leadership and promise to bring basketball relevance back to Philly. I'm more comfortable with Rod Thorn in charge of basketball operations than I ever was with Ed Stefanski. Unlike year's past I feel like there's something to build on.
According to John Smallwood of Philly.com, Doug Collins sees the same amount of promise in his roster.
"If you're a franchise that is trying to put a Band-Aid on it and keep it in the playoffs every year to make it look like you are trying to compete every year, I can understand the cynicism," Sixers coach Doug Collins said. "But for us to do that this year, our guys are going to grow exponentially from that."
They have a very young core to build around featuring Jrue Holliday and Evan Turner. There's a lot to be proud of for this 76er team, but this isn't the goal. To be ousted in the first round. But they showed a lot of potential, and with some shrewd moves, they could be on the right side of one of these series in the very near future.
The Sixers gave the Heat absolutely everything they could handle in game five, but it wasn't quite enough Miami defeated Philadelphia 97-91 to advance to the Eastern Conference Semifinals. The Heat will next face the Boston Celtics, who swept the Knicks in round one.
I'm sure the Sixers were so happy to help...
Wade scored 26 points, the last two coming on a completely unnecessary dunk as the Sixers were allowing him to dribble out the clock... but maybe that was just more "getting ready." That said, Wade was complimentary of the Sixers after the game and embraced Doug Collins after the game.
"It was very tough," Wade said. "We knew it was going to be like this."
Wade outshined his more famous teammate Lebron James, who managed just 16 points, after scoring just three at the half. Prior to the game, James had referred to closing out the Sixers as "just finishing our breakfast." The more I hear from the Heat, the more I feel like I could stomach rooting for Boston. Maybe...
"We fought to the finish," said Doug Collins, "as we said we were going to do."
Collins also said he has "enjoyed the ride all year" and has every intention of returning to the Sixers next season.
The Philadelphia 76ers visit the Miami Heat in Game 5 of their series in the NBA Playoffs Wednesday evening as the Sixers will look to build on the momentum they had at the end of Game 4 to stave off elimination and a series sweep.
According to NBA StatsCube, the Sixers' starting lineup is outscoring the Heat by 22.8 points per 48 minutes in 43 minutes together. If that means that Philadelphia needs to play Andre Iguodala, Elton Brand, Spencer Hawes, Jodie Meeks and Jrue Holiday to guarantee a 22-point victory, then that's what the coaching staff should do!
It’s quite difficult to say what Philadelphia really needs to concentrate on to beat LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh and the rest of the Heat as the Sixers have been quite erratic throughout the first four games, but Michael Levin of Liberty Ballers has a few handy pieces of analysis that involve things to watch for while watching the Sixers try to overcome their inability to play offense in the second quarter as well as an interesting note on the foul disparity between the two teams.
While Levin’s tips will definitely allow Philadelphia fans to have more fun while watching Game 5, head coach Doug Collins says that the 76ers players are also having fun while looking to pull within one game of Miami in the best-of-seven series.
"They wanted to get down there," Collins told NBA.com. "And guys are loose. They’re having fun. It’s just a great time to be playing. Anytime you have the chance to play these kind of games, it helps them grow. I’m learning more about them every single day."
Hopefully Collins will gets a chance to learn even more about his players over the next couple of days as Game 6 would be on Friday, but for now, let’s just hope that the Sixers take care of business as we watch on TNT television at 6 p.m.
Facing the prospect of getting swept in their own building, the Sixers showed they had some fight left and weren't ready to go quietly just yet. Lou Williams hit a go ahead three pointer with eight seconds left to lift the Sixers to an 86-82 win over the Miami Heat in game four.
Williams' three was part of a remarkable 10-0 run to end the game that was sparked largely by the trio of Jrue Holiday, Lou Williams and Evan Turner. The poor play of Miami's Dwyane Wade certainly helped as well.
After Turner had hit a floater on the baseline, he grabbed a big defensive rebound on the other end. Jrue Holiday brought the ball up and quickly knocked down a three right over Dwyane Wade. Wade would miss a mid-range jumper at the other end and on the ensuing possession, Lou Williams would spot up over Wade for the go ahead three.
"D-Wade gave me a little room and I was able to knock it down," Williams said. "We’ve always been a team that fought, all the way until the end. I just wanted to give us an opportunity to win the basketball game."
LeBron James had a chance at a game tying shot on a runner in the lane, but it was blocked by Elton Brand and secured by Evan Turner, who then hit two foul shots to seal it for the Sixers. The rookie Turner ended up leading the team with 17 points while also grabbing four boards. Turner also provided that most entertaining sequence of the game (aside from the 10-0 run) that Liberty Ballers summed up superbly.
(Speaking of the 9:00 mark, that's when the best part of the first half occurred. James Jones caught a pass, stepped out of bounds, but still attempted to shoot it. In KG-esque fashion Evan Turner tried to block it. Jones didn't enjoy Turner's gesture too much, so he pushed him, prompting Thaddeus Young to body-bump Jones. A mini-scuffle ensued, the crowd got into it, and Evan Turner proceeded to take his anger out on LeBron James the next possession by taking him off the dribble, giving him a half-spin-shimmy, followed by a sweet fadeaway. The crowd erupted, the game thread filled with goosebumps, and it felt like Turner had finally earned his Sixers stripes. Just a fantastic sequence – one of the best this season.)
Lou Williams scored 17 himself, 11 of which came in the 4th, and Elton Brand turned in a double-double with 15 points and 11 rebounds.
The series now heads back to Miami for game five on Wednesday.
The Sixers will look to save some face and stave off elimination this afternoon as they face the Miami Heat in game four of their first round playoff series. Down 3-0, the Sixers are facing elimination in their own building but they say they aren't ready for the season to end just yet.
"You don’t want to get swept," Elton Brand said. "You don’t want to be out. We’ve had a fun season enjoying each other and we want to keep growing. We don’t want to go home. Nobody wants to go home."
Lou Williams echoed the sentiment, "We realize that Sunday is do or die. It’s either win or go home and we want to stretch this thing out, so I think we will probably have our best effort on Sunday."
I'm not totally sure what is a more disconcerting thought. That the Sixers haven't put forth their "best effort" yet or that maybe they have... It's not as if the Sixers have been completely played off the court, they were in games one and three, but in crunch time the gap between these teams have been painfully evident.
Heading into the fourth quarter of game three, the Sixers were actually up two. However, the Heat went on outscored them 27-19 in the final frame and cruise to a fairly comfortable win. On one hand, they just have no answer for the LeBron James/Dwyane Wade duo, but the Sixers also simply fail to make shots when they need to. Lou Williams said that they "went cold in the fourth in both games" and he's right.
Arguably no one is colder than Andre Iguodala, who is shooting just 28% and averaging just over six points a game in this series. That's nearly half his season averages and easily the worst numbers of his playoff career. If Iguodala had been at his season averages, there's a chance that the Sixers could have been up 2-1 in this series. If they're going to stave off elimination this afternoon, Iguodala is going to have to put points on the board.
The other obvious area of improvement for the Sixers is rebounding. They were beat on the glass in embarrassing fashion in game three as the Heat pulled down 20 offensive rebounds. Elton Brand admitted that part of the reason the Heat dominated on the glass was their defensive scheme.
"When you trap it is a perimeter player. It’s not like the post player where you are trapping him and you can get to the boards," he said. "You are outside the paint and that’s a big guy trapping, so they have an advantage on the boards. We just all have to get in there and gang rebound."
So do you let one guy try to guard Dwyane Wade or LeBron James on the perimeter and play for rebounds or do you give your defenders help? It's an almost impossible decision for Doug Collins.
We'll see what happens at 1 pm on ABC.
The Philadelphia 76ers are losing control against the Miami Heat. They need to focus on the basics if they want to get back into this series.
The Miami Heat now stand on the verge of a first round sweep over the Philadelphia 76ers after a 100-94 victory in Game 3 on Thursday. Dwayne Wade led the way for Miami with 32 points while Lebron James and Chris Bosh added 24 and 19 points respectively.
The 76ers were led by Jrue Holliday and Elton Brand, but Wade's late game heroics were a little bit too much for the 76ers to overcome. Our 76ers blog Liberty Ballers isn't ready to take a close loss as a moral victory.
The Sixers gave a fantastic effort but as Doug Collins said post game, "I'm a moral person, but I don't like moral victories." The 2010-2011 is one loss away from ending and there's no evidence to show that it won't happen on Sunday. The Sixers continue to get killed on the boards, struggle with offensive sets in the fourth, and let's face it, are playing against a team that 2 of the best players in the NBA are on; chances of Flyers vs. Bruins comeback are not likely at all.
According to Bob Cooney of Philly.com, Collins had a few more things to say about the loss.
"I look at the big picture," Collins said. "[Miami] shot 45 percent from the floor with 20 offensive rebounds. That's the game. Twenty offensive rebounds, 24 points off offensive rebounds and 48 points in the paint. There was nothing wrong with our offense."
I'm not sure there were too many people out there who expected the 76ers to win this series, but they might have expected them to take at least one game off the Heat. The 76ers are just outmatched against the Heat, especially in the superstar department, and that has been evident so far in the series. When the game gets to crunch time, the Heat have closers, and the 76ers simply do not.
Like we said, the 76ers now trail the Heat 3-0, and are one game away from elimination. They'll have an opportunity to keep their season alive on Sunday when they host another game against the Heat.
The Sixers showed a whole lot more fight tonight than they did in game two, but in the result was the same. The Heat defeated the Sixers 100-94 to take a seemingly insurmountable 3-0 series lead. No team has ever overcome a 3-0 deficit in this round of the NBA playoffs.
The Sixers led for large stretches of the game and stretched that lead to as many as ten in the first half, but Heat's stars took over in the second half as they outshot and out-rebounded the Sixers by a wide margin. Miami dominated on the glass 50-34, but it was most evident on the offensive end. The Heat grabbed 20 offensive rebounds leading to over 20 second chance points.
It was really the same story over and over each trip down the floor. Dwyane Wade or LeBron James would bring the ball up and the Sixers defense would collapse on them leaving them exposed in the front court. So whether one of the two dish the ball off for a easy basket or miss a shot, there was always several Heat players around the basket to take advantage.
On the offensive end, the story down the stretch was basically the same it's been most of the season. The Sixers simply miss shots. Andre Iguodala was 3-10, Thaddeus Young was an awful 1-8, Louis Williams scored 15 points but on 5-12 shooting and Jodie Meeks was 2-8 from the floor. The only Sixers that were getting the ball to fall consistently were Elton Brand, who scored 21, and Jrue Holiday who dropped 20 on 4-5 three point shooting.
The fourth quarter of this game was basically a clinic in the difference between a team with stars and one without. For the Heat, it became a two man game with Dwayne Wade and Lebron James dominating the ball and making shots. For the Sixers, there was clearly just no go to guy.
Game four is Sunday at 1pm in Philadelphia. The game will be on ABC as the Heat go for the sweep.
Down 2-0 after two games in Miami, the Sixers are showing signs of life in game three at home. Heading into the fourth quarter they hold a slight two point lead and if they can close this out, they’ll find themselves back in this series.
Jrue Holiday and Elton Brand lead the way in scoring with 17 a piece. Meanwhile the Heat’s scoring has come the usual sources, Dwayne Wade leads all scorers with 24 and Lebron James has 20. Wade is on the bench for the start of the fourth quarter with his left shoulder wrapped up in ice.
Doug Collins says the key for the Sixers is to rebound the ball better on the defensive end.
“We gotta rebound the ball.” Collins said. “We gave them too many offensive rebounds. That’s what happens. Lebron and Wade draw some much attention that when you come over to help there’s somebody else with the offensive board.”
(Sports Network) - The star-studded Miami Heat invade Philadelphia Thursday in search of a commanding 3-0 series lead in their Eastern Conference quarterfinals set with the overmatched Philadelphia 76ers.
Saturday's series opener came down to the closing minutes but Monday's tilt was a wire-to-wire drubbing that was all but decided by halftime with Miami holding the Sixers to 26 percent shooting in the opening 24 minutes en route to an 18-point lead.
"I always felt that when they wanted to, they were as good as any defensive team in the NBA," Sixers coach Doug Collins said of Heat.
"Our energy was much better from beginning to end," Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra said. "The biggest thing we wanted to do was come into the game with a lot more of a motor and energy to set the tone."
"I thought Miami played a great, great game," Collins said. "If they are playing on top of their game, they are a better team. That doesn't mean that we aren't going to play and compete ... but it is going to be very difficult to beat them."
Philadelphia shot a woeful 4-of-20 from the field in the opening frame and never recovered. Lou Williams, the Sixes' leading bench scorer during the regular season but hobbled by a hamstring injury, went 3- for-10 from the field in Game 1 and 1-for-8 for eight points in Game 2.
Miami also swept Philadelphia in a three-game season series in 2010-11, winning by an average of 10 points a contest. The teams have never met in the postseason before.
Game 4 in the set is also scheduled for Wells Fargo Center on Easter Sunday.
There’s really not a whole to say about this game from a Sixers’ perspective. There was no shocking run in the first quarter to catch the Heat sleeping, no fourth quarter fightback… they just got worked tonight by a Heat team that looked a lot more focused than it did in game one.
Lebron James scored 29 as the Heat won 94-73 to take a commanding 2-0 series lead in the best of seven.
The Sixers were really blown away from the start with a first half performance reminiscent of Butler in the NCAA title game. They managed just 31 first half points. Andre Iguodala was 2-8, Elton Brand was 1-5… In fact the Sixers starting lineup shot just 11 for 35. All told, the starters contributed 29 points.
The Sixers simply never looked like they were in this game. They’ll look to save some face and try to get back in this series on Thursday as it shifts to Philadelphia for game three.
(Sports Network) – Philadelphia gave heavily-favored Miami quite a scare in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals. Now, the 76ers will attempt to even the set when the two clubs hook up again in the shadow of South Beach.
“He (Bosh) was good on the glass (as he’s been all year) and he was active,” Miami head coach Erik Spoelstra said. “We were able to run some offense through him. I think all of us in general will be better and more efficient offensively as the series goes on.”
LeBron James added 21 points, 14 boards and three blocks for Miami, which went 58-24 this season en route to winning the Southeast Division.
“At the end of the day that’s what we want, we want a challenge,” James said. “I know those guys (76ers) like a challenge. We have to be into it with a game plan until that final horn sounds and all zeros are on the clock.”
Despite a brewing migraine headache, Dwyane Wade donated 17 points, including five in the final 1:34, seven rebounds and five assists for Miami, which got a boost on the defensive end from role players Joel Anthony and Mario Chalmers after falling behind by as many as 14 points early.
Thaddeus Young finished with 20 points and 11 boards off the bench for the seventh-seeded Sixers, who went 41-41 this season under first-year head coach Doug Collins.
Jrue Holiday chipped in with 19 points, five rebounds and five assists for Philadelphia, which is in the playoffs for the third time in the past four years.
Elton Brand added 17 points and seven boards in defeat and Andre Iguodala was ineffective offensively, scoring just four points, but the swingman, who was returning to the lineup after missing the final two regular season games with right knee tendinitis, had eight rebounds and nine assists.
Trailing by 13, 88-75, at the midway mark of the fourth, the Sixers made one last push with a 12-0 run. Young made back-to-back layups around a Chalmers turnover to get Philadelphia going.
The Heat missed two shots before Brand blocked Anthony’s shot. Holiday then made a pair of three-pointers to make it a three-point contest with 3:58 to play. The next points didn’t come until Young made a layup with 2:23 to go to get Philly within one, 88-87.
Bosh made two free throws to finally stop the bleeding and Brand missed a jumper at the other end, leading to a conventional three-point play from Wade that basically sealed things.
“It looked like they were gonna run us out, but we pushed back and we had a great chance,” Collins said.
The Heat attempted 39 free throws in the game to just 15 for the Sixers and also outrebounded Philadelphia 52-39.
Wade was unable to practice Sunday because of the migraine, a problem that has plagued the veteran All-Star for years. His status for Game 2 is up in the air but James isn’t concerned.
“He’ll be here,” the reigning two-time MVP said.
“We’ll have to see how he feels at the end of the day,” Spoelstra added. “We really wanted to be proactive right now and keep him rested and take medicine and we’ll go from there.”
Miami swept Philadelphia in a three-game season series in 2010-11, winning by an average of 10 points a contest. The teams have never met before in the postseason.
Game 3 of this best-of-seven series is set for Thursday back in the City of Brotherly Love.
The story of the game read very much like a script in four acts.
Act One: Underdog pulls ahead early, surprises Big Bad Wolf.
Act Two; Wolf wakes up, starts choking the Dog with help from his zebra friends.
Act Three: The Dog gets down on itself and looks like he’s going to give up.
Act Four: He doesn’t give up, comes to the brink of salvation only to be shot down in the back of the head.
Okay so I’m mixing my metaphors and probably getting too dark for game one of a first round NBA playoff matchup. But this was a very frustrating game. The refs certainly had a hand in awarding the game to the Heat, although the absence of any cogent offense in the 2nd and 3rd quarters did a bit of damage as well to the Sixers. Collins will take a lot out of this game — that his guys can, as they expected, hang with this team of superstars, and they will need to close the free throw gap if they have a chance at winning a game.
The Heat were fouled 25 times to the Sixers 16, a difference that got smaller in the 4th quarter. Miami shot 24 more foul shots than the Sixers and were the benefit of a number ticky-tack calls that didn’t get called the other way. It’s frustration, it’s irrational, and it’s probably wrong, but that’s what the general consensus of people was during the game. Whether or not there’s some sort of referee conspiracy is a rather ludicrous claim — the idea that home teams get more calls than road teams and superstars get better calls than role players is proven fact, and to be expected.
Regardless, Andre Iguodala, Louis Williams, Marreese Speights, Andres Nocioni, and Doug Collins are all goats tonight for different reasons. Dre played terrific defense on LeBron James and Dwyane Wade over the course of the game, but couldn’t get anything going offensively save for a couple very nice passes. LeBron finished 4-14 but because of how many chances he got at the foul line, he wound up with 21 points and 14 rebounds. Some of that’s on Andre. Lou came out firing from his injury and got beat on both ends of the court far too often. Mo played an inexplicably high amount of minutes once Spencer Hawes got into foul trouble, and made too many mistakes that we’ve been accustomed to seeing him make. Noce was just really awful in every aspect of the game. He shouldn’t be in the rotation. That’s on Collins for keeping him in the rotation.
Jrue Holiday played a mix of mediocre and terrific basketball today. He was far from perfect but there were a few times when his defense was transitioning into offense for himself and his teammates. No turnovers, 19 points on 12 shots, and holding Wade and Bibby to 25 combined? That’s alright, Jrue. He passed up a crucial three at the end of the game that would have cut it close. Instead Dre bricked a three of his own and that was the game.
Elton Brand was a workhorse on this day. He and Thaddeus Young carried the team for many many stretches. Thad needs to not take any jumpers outside of 10 feet, but he got to a ton of loose balls and created matchup problems for the Heat that confused Spoelstra a lot. He led the team in scoring and rebounding with 20 and 11. Brand hit a bunch of mid-range jumpers but missed a crucial one that would have cut the lead to 1 with a minute or so remaining. He didn’t do a great job on Chris Bosh, who finished with a game-high 25 points.
Too many opportunities squandered and against an all-world team like Miami, that’s going to make it infinitely harder to beat them. They’ll take a couple nights to sit on this loss and come back in Game Two to try and steal a home game from the Heat.
It took the last few days of the NBA season to determine if the Sixers would play Boston or Miami. The debate on which would be a better match-up will soon be settled.
The Philadelphia 76ers will have almost the entire non-Miami portion of the country on their side this afternoon as they open their 2011 NBA playoff campaign against Miami Heat. The Heat have been public enemy #1 around the country from the minute "The Decision" was made and they held their own championship celebration a few days later. which are both widely seen as a couple of the great PR mistakes in sports. Today marks the first chance someone has to to take them down.
As much as America may want to see a Sixers win, let's not mix words. The SIxers are seen as a long shot. Vegas set their odds of getting out of this series at 150/1. They are 10.5 point underdogs in this opening game and were swept by the Heat i the regular season. In fact, Miami won all three games comfortably by a margin of about 10 points.
There are is some good historical news if you're betting on the Sixers this afternoon, but not if you're rooting for them to win. Since 2005, there have been 734 NBA games where the home team was favored by between 9.5 and 11.5 points. The home team has won 85% of those matchups. However, the visitor has covered the spread 51.4% of the time.
That said Sixers fans aren't really going to care if they lose by nine and cover the spread. They want to win. So does this beat up, outgunned Sixers squad who finished the season terribly have any hope? There just might be a couple factors that the Sixers have going the way.
For one, this is what the entire season has been about for the Heat. The moment they held their championship celebration before the season, the regular season became an afterthought. It was really an 82 game preseason for the moment, because anything less than a NBA title for the Heat this year would be seen as a fairly massive failure. Sixers coach Doug Collins acknowledged that this has been the case for the Heat all year.
"When those three guys got together last summer, Saturday [the first game of the playoffs] is what they were shooting for. They did get through the regular season, but they're pinning their hopes on starting Saturday, that they can make a championship run."
This Heat team has proven so far to be the most mentally tough team as evidenced by their struggles in close games and Lebron James embarrassed himself by shutting down in the playoffs last year when things got tough. So could the weight of expectations help hurt the Heat?
The Sixers other possible advantage is the fact that they can something to Lebron James that few other teams can. They can put a defender of Andre Iguodala's stature on him for the game. Iguodala can matchup physically with Lebron and offer more of a challenge that most players in the game. It certainly doesn't mean Lebron will be shutdown, but there has to be something to said for the fact that this will likely be the toughest one on one matchup he gets in the Eastern Conference.
Of course, the Sixers have only one Andre Iguodala and the Heat have more than one star. So who guards Dwayne Wade? Jodie Meeks and/or Lou Williams(if he even plays) proved to be overmatched vs Wade in the regular season. So expect Jrue Holiday, who is more defensively capable than his backcourt mates to take on Wade often. Still, he presents a major mismatch that the Sixers have to figure out.
This will be the first ever meeting between these franchises in the postseason. The game tips off at 3:30 on ABC.
Game 1: Sat., April 16 in Miami, 3:30 p.m., ABC
Game 2: Mon., April 18 in Miami, 7 p.m., TNT
Game 3: Thu., April 21 in Philadelphia, TBD, TNT
Game 4: Sun., April 24 in Philadelphia, 1 p.m., ABC
Game 5: Wed., April 27 in Miami (if needed)
Game 6: Fri., April 29 in Philadelphia (if needed)
Game 7: Sun., May 1 in Miami (if needed)
Let's compare that to the schedule for the Flyers/Sabres series. Game one of the Sixers will overlap the Flyers first period or so, but game two goes directly head to head with the Flyers on Monday. From there on out they don't overlap, but I think it's a shame that the NBA didn't at least pay some respect to Philadelphia fans that might want to watch both of their local teams in the playoffs.
Game 1 Thu., April 14 at Philadelphia, 7:30 p.m. CSN
Game 2 Sat., April 16 at Philadelphia, 5 p.m. CSN
Game 3 Mon., April 18 at Buffalo, 7 p.m. CSN
Game 4 Wed., April 20 at Buffalo, 7:30 p.m. CSN
* Game 5 Fri., April 22 at Philadelphia, 7:30 p.m. CSN
* Game 6 Sun., April 24 at Buffalo, 3 p.m. NBC
* Game 7 Tues., April 26 at Philadelphia, TBD
So much for all my logic trying to determine when the SIxers vs Heat playoff series would start. ABC has decided to put the Heat vs Sixers right up against the Flyers vs Sabres NHL playoff game this Saturday at 3:30.
The Flyers and Sabres will face off at 5pm, in Philadelphia. I assumed that if the Sixers vs Heat series began on Sunday, the series would end up fitting perfectly on the off days of the Flyers’ series. How silly of me… Obviously ABC is not particularly concerned with the Philadelphia market as they see this game as the one with the most national appeal with the Heat involved. They’re not going to let the small issue of another playoff game featuring a local team get in the way of the postseason debut of Lebron James, Dwayne Wade, Chris Bosh and those other guys…
The Sixers dropped their final game of the season to Orlando, while the Miami Heat beat the Hawks setting up a first round series between the two. The Heat swept the Sixers this season with three wins by an average of about 10 points. The closest the Sixers came was 99-90 Heat win in Miami on November 26th.
The full Eastern conference playoff pairings are as follows.
#2 Miami Heat vs #7 Philadelphia 76ers - Heat swept the Sixers this season
The 2011 NBA Playoffs will begin on Saturday April 16, 2011. The Sixers will be in Miami for the first two games of the series. The Flyers will play at Wells Fargo Center on Saturday, but aren't scheduled to be back in town until next Friday.
Last year, teams who played game one on Saturday wouldn't play game three until Thursday or Friday of the following week. Teams that started on Sunday would play game three the next Saturday. Either would work for the Sixers, but starting on Sunday would likely allow them to play in Philadelphia on each of the Flyers' off days (Saturday & Monday).
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