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2011 NBA Playoffs: Heat vs. Sixers Game 5 Preview

After a redemptive performance from the survival-mode Sixers and a far from ideal finish from the Heat in Game 4, the boys come back home for another attempt to finish the 1st round hurdle and advance to the next level where the Boston Celtics await.

A swift dismantle from the onset would be ideal, but the starting PG-C duo of Bibby and Ilgauskas alongside the Big Three has been unable to keep up with the athletic Sixers starting lineup -- falling behind early and failing to set the pace from the start, left to play catch up.  So far this series, the starting unit has netted a ghastly -28.54 rating (9.14 during the regular season), compared to an outstanding 52.06 when the more agile duo of Chalmers and Anthony flank the Big Three.  Even when James Jones is on the floor for Wade, the Heat remain effective on both ends of the floor, netting a solid 49.33. (In perspective, Boston’s starting unit was 29.70 in their 4-game series versus the Knicks).  Just not the best matchup for the seasoned veterans.

Despite the vast differential, coach Spoelstra announced there would be no changes to the starting lineup.  The decision resonates more of the need for consistency and the role settling in the rotation than tactical adjustments, something the coach has mentioned during the season.  Against the Sixers, it is only a mild oversight that is offset by the overwhelming talent from the Heat and the lack thereof from the Sixers.  Against the Celtics, the rotation might be at the behest of matchups and the necessary adjustments to compete.  Until then, 48 more minutes of Philadelphia are at hand.  Let’s hope it ends like it should.

Game Notes:

  • The NBA announced that if the Heat close out the series tonight or a potential Friday night game in Philly, the Eastern Conference semifinal series against the Celtics would open Sunday at the AAA.
  • LeBron James currently ranks 4th in PPG with 26.2 this post season.  He ranks 2nd in PER (32.4) only behind the marvelous performance that Chris Paul has been executing against the Lakers, 5th in rebounding (10.8), 3rd in defensive rebound % (22.0), 9th in assists per game (5.8), and leads all players with 0.385 win shares per 48 minutes.  Dominating numbers that can only accent the visual spectacle he is currently producing.
  • Mike Miller continues to be the questionable with a thumb injury, as well as Udonis Haslem not ready to take the hardwood yet.

Series Statistics




(4th of 16) 108.3
Off Rtg
99.3 (15th of 16)

(2nd) 99.3
Def Rtg
86.1 (13th)

(12th) 86.1
86.1 (11th)

(6th) 93.3
85.5 (16th)

(1st) 85.5
Opp Pts/G
93.3 (6th)

(10th) .459
.446 (12th)

(4th) .446
Opp eFG%
.459 (7th)

Likely Starters

Mike Bibby
Jrue Holiday

Dwyane Wade
Jodie Meeks

LeBron James
Andre Iguodala

Chris Bosh
Elton Brand

Zydrunas Ilgauskas
Spencer Hawes

James Jones
Thaddeus Young

Playoff Series 3-1

American Airlines Arena - Miami, FL

7:00 PM EST

TNT / Sun Sports


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