Game 5 NBA Playoff Betting: Heat hope to close out 76ers

2011 NBA Eastern Conference Playoffs
First Round – Game 5
Philadelphia 76ers at Miami Heat, American Airlines Arena, Miami, FL
Wednesday, April 27, 2011, 7:00 pm Eastern, TV:  TNT
Opening Line: Heat -11
Current Line: Heat -10.5
Opening Total: 186.5
Current Total: 186
Money Line: Heat -800 / 76ers +640

Heat 76ers NBA Playoffs Game 5 Preview
Miami's LeBron James and Chris Bosh are trying not to look ahead to the Celtics.

The Miami Heat (61-25) seemingly had put together the first sweep of the playoffs on the road against the Philadelphia 76ers (42-44) in Game 4 on Sunday until they fell apart in the final minutes.  Now the Heat (-10.5) will look to recover from an 86-82 loss in Game 5 back at home on Wednesday and advance to face the Boston Celtics in the Eastern Conference semifinals.

Miami would have homecourt advantage in a potential series with the Celtics, who won three of the four meetings during the regular season and were more impressive in their first-round sweep of New York than any team so far in the playoffs.  The Heat do not want Boston to have too much rest in preparation for arguably the most anticipated semifinal matchup in NBA history, so it is obviously in their best interest to finish off the 76ers as soon as possible.

Philadelphia almost made that a reality after Game 4, blowing an 18-point lead and trailing 82-76 with 1:35 remaining.  But the Sixers used a 10-0 run in the final 1:22 to pull out the victory, going ahead for good on a 3-pointer by Louis Willliams with eight seconds left.  Williams and rookie Evan Turner each scored 17 points while Elton Brand had 15 and grabbed 11 rebounds.

“It was easy for us when we were down seven with 8 minutes to go for guys to pack it in and get ready for that vacation,” Williams said. “Instead, guys locked down on defense and made some big shots.”

The toughest challenge for Miami heading into that game and this series overall was not overlooking Philly, something that remains an obstacle with the Celts waiting on deck.  Heat stars LeBron James and Dwyane Wade do not want to talk about anybody but the 76ers at this point, especially since the opposition’s starters have outscored them 78-46 when they are on the floor.

Veterans Mike Bibby and Zydrunas Ilgauskas have also been defensive liabilities for the team, with their only real asset being outside shooting.  Bibby did not even score in Game 4 while Ilgauskas is the lone Miami player outside of James, Wade and Chris Bosh to score in double figures in the entire series (he totaled 10 points in Game 3).

Philly’s best chance is to keep Game 5 low-scoring, as the UNDER is 9-1 in its last 10 games and 3-1 in the series.  While the Sixers are just 2-8 straight-up and against the spread during that stretch, a high-scoring game would seem to favor Miami.  The Heat are 8-0 SU and 7-1 ATS in their last eight games that have gone OVER the total.

Now that you have read this NBA betting preview featuring the Heat & 76ers, check out the NBA odds on this and all the games to compare the best lines at multiple sportsbooks.

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