The Miami Heat are set to take on the Philadelphia 76ers in the first round of the NBA playoffs this afternoon. The Heat are the conference’s second seed with a record of 58-24 and the 76ers are the seventh seed with a record of 41-41. The Heat won the season series 3-0, and while none of the contests were blowouts, none were particularly close.
A look at some of the teams’ numbers according to HoopData.com:
|2 Seed||7 Seed|
|(3rd) 109.3||Off Rtg||104.0 (18th)|
|(5th) 100.7||Def Rtg||102.5 (9th)|
|(21st) 92.9||Pace||94.0 (16th)|
|(8th) 102.1||Pts/G||99.0 (18th)|
|(6th) 94.6||Opp Pts/G||97.5 (12th)|
|(9th) 42.1||Rebs/G||41.8 (13th)|
|(26th) 20.0||Assists/G||22.7 (6th)|
|109.3||Head to Head Off Rtg||98.2|
|98.2||Head to Head Def Rtg||109.3|
|Mike Bibby||PG||Jrue Holliday|
|Dwyane Wade||SG||Jodie Meeks|
|LeBron James||SF||Andre Iguodala|
|Chris Bosh||PF||Elton Brand|
|Zydrunas Ilgauskas||C||Spencer Hawes|
|James Jones||6th||Evan Turner/Lou Williams|
|Matchup Series 3-0|
The Heat have stifled the 76ers offense in all three contests, holding them below they’re average offensive output. However, the first two contests came before Philadelphia turned a corner, and they may no longer hold any significance.
The 76ers have excelled with numerous small-ball lineups that feature Thaddeus Young playing the power forward position and either Marresse Speights or Elton Brand playing center. Unfortunately for the 76ers, the Heat did not have trouble matching up with the small lineups in the March 25th game. The Heat used a 4-5 pairing of LeBron James and Chris Bosh to be +38 in about 15 minutes of game time. The 76ers will have to find another way to successfully attack the Heat defense.
For the Heat, the series should be more of a tune-up than anything else. They have the better team and matchup well with Philadelphia’s strengths. The Heat’s biggest issue with Philadelphia during the last matchup was turnovers. Avoid making the negative plays, and the Heat should handle the 76ers fairly easily.
My Prediction: Heat in 5 games, with the 76ers taking game four at home. Ultimately, the injuries to Andre Iguodala and Lou Williams will make it tough for the 76ers to make it any more of a series.
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