Blog Entry

NBA Playoffs Sixers-Heat: Die another day

Posted on: April 24, 2011 5:48 pm
Edited on: April 24, 2011 6:09 pm
The Sixers stave off elimination and the Heat choke away another game. Does either mean anything in the long run?
Posted by Matt Moore

First, it was certain the Sixers were going to save themselves some pride. Then, it was certain the Sixers were going to blow it again. And in the end, the world gets to celebrate another blown Heat lead, a blocked LeBron shot, and the Sixers live to die another day

The Heat ran off a 22-2 run in the second quarter and lost. The Sixers shot 41 percent and won. And the leading scorer for Philadelphia was Evan Turner, who didn't even play in the first two games of this series. Meanwhile, the Heat's offense wilted and died in the face of a much improved Philadelphia defense. Elton Brand played physical for the first time in this series, and the result was a 5-12 performance from Chris Bosh, who had averaged just under 22 points through the first three games. 

There's two ways to look at this game. 

On the one hand: This series is still over, right? The Heat have a significant lead down the stretch, and it takes a Lou Williams 3-pointer (granted, he's shooting 60 percent from the arc in this series, but still) to stave off elimination at home. The Heat ran off a 22-2 run and had they started with any level of consistency or effort, this would have been a blowout. Sweeping teams in the NBA is remarkably difficult (if you're not the Celtics, apparently), and the Heat giving up a game isn't the end of the world. They've been in control for 13 of the 16 quarters in this series, the chances of the Sixers climbing back in are extremely low. The talent gap is just too great. 

On the other hand: Isn't this how it starts? The Heat fail to close out a bad team in an elimination game. Spirits get down, emotions drop. Then the Sixers use the momentum to steal one in Miami, where the Heat don't have a great homecourt advantage with an apathetic crowd. All of a sudden, it's a 3-2 game going back to Philadelphia, and the Heat are questioning themselves. This sounds like science fiction. But it's what we've come to expect. Until the Heat prove they can commit to closing out a team with force, there will be doubt in people's minds about their ability. They gave this one up. So the model is there for Philadelphia, sans that second quarter disaster. The Sixers aren't dead, because the Heat haven't ended them yet. Until they do, that excitement about the possibility of a Sixers comeback will linger. 

Miami thought they had taken all the pressure off of themselves. They thought they would coast into the second round. But, as much of an advantage as they've had, they still couldn't get it done. The Sixers live to die another die. 

Since: Jun 12, 2007
Posted on: April 24, 2011 7:45 pm

NBA Playoffs Sixers-Heat: Die another day

I'm really anxious to see if this win by the Sixers gives them the confidence to more effectively deal with this powerful Heat team.  I kind of doubt it as the Heat just seem to have way too much horsepower relative the Sixers.  Pulling off an upset in Miami is a daunting task for any team, much less the Sixers.  But the Heat can be very up and down this year, so if they're down in game 5 it's certainly possible for Philly to sneak out of Miami with a win.  Possible, but not likely.  I'm afraid this series is over for all intents and purposes, but if the Heat are looking ahead to their second round already, a Sixer win is indeed possible.  We'll learn alot about this Heat team by how they end up closing this series out.  Game four was certainly not very impressive for the Heat.

Since: Dec 11, 2006
Posted on: April 24, 2011 7:15 pm

NBA Playoffs Sixers-Heat: Die another day

Game four was absolutely no surprise to me.  It was likely for the Sixers to sneak out a win at least once playing at home.  That's kind of the way the NBA goes.  It's tough to win on the road.  I really was not expecting the Heat to win two in a row in Philly.  There was a decent probability of getting two wins in a row on the road, but not something I would expect.  The Heat are sitting in a great position and are playing the home court advantage as the NBA has designed it to be.  I doubt they have any concern at all with this close loss.  They are focusing on game 5 at home.  This Miami team is showing great progress in becoming the best team in the league.  They still have a ways to go, but they're pretty good now.  Next game in Miami ends this series.  I hope the Heat are not thinking about their second round opponent already.  That's about all that could give the Sixers a chance in the next game.

Since: Apr 15, 2009
Posted on: April 24, 2011 6:38 pm

NBA Playoffs Sixers-Heat: Die another day


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