2011 NBA Eastern Conference Playoffs
First Round – Game 3
Miami Heat at Philadelphia 76ers, Wells Fargo Center, Philadelphia, PA
Thursday, April 21, 2011, 8:00 pm Eastern, TV: TNT
Opening Line: Heat -4.5
Current Line: Heat -4.5
Opening Total: 187
Current Total: 187
Money Line: Heat -200 / 76ers +170
The second-seeded Miami Heat (60-24) are coming off a 94-73 rout of the seventh-seeded Philadelphia 76ers (41-43) in Game 2 on Monday, but their Game 1 performance might have been even more impressive considering how they have made a bad habit of faltering late. The Heat (-4.5) won the opener of their Eastern Conference first-round series 97-89 after seeing the 76ers score 12 straight points to pull within one. Now Miami will face its biggest challenge yet in a hostile environment at Philadelphia and against a team trying to avoid an 0-3 hole.
The 76ers have not been able to slow down the Big 3 of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh in the first two games and have seen their top players struggle as well. That obviously is a recipe for disaster heading into Game 3 and must change if they are going to get back into this series. Bosh alone has 46 points so far while Philly’s top two scorers Elton Brand and Andre Iguodala have combined for 29.
“In Game 3, I think their will is at stake here,” Bosh said. “They’re going to come out fighting, they’re going to come out really swinging, especially with that home energy behind them.”
Iguodala is still dealing with a knee injury and has had the added difficult challenge of trying to guard James, who scored a game-high 29 points in Game 2. The only positive for the Sixers is that not one Heat player besides the Big 3 has scored in double figures in the series.
Hard to call that a moral victory though when you are down 0-2 and have lost nine straight games in the series, with the last win coming in 2009. Philadelphia has managed to keep Miami under 100 points in four of the past five meetings with the total also going UNDER four times. The problem is, the 76ers have not reached the century mark in any of those games either and have scored 100 only once in the last 10 meetings.
To make matters worse, the Heat were an NBA-best 28-13 on the road during the regular season, which is even better than Philly’s 26-15 home mark. Miami is 24-16-1 against the spread away from home compared to a 23-18 mark vs. the line for the 76ers, who have covered only one of their last eight games overall with the UNDER cashing each time.
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