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The Philadelphia 76ers played the Miami Heat tough in Game 1, but was on the wrong end of a 21 point rout in the second game of the series. As a result, they find themselves in a 2-0 hole as they return home for Game 3 of the opening round NBA playoff series on Thursday night. The Sixers will also be looking to rebound from one of their worst defensive efforts of the season while the Heat will try to maintain their momentum in hopes they can quickly dispatch pesky Philadelphia and focus on bigger challenges that await in the later rounds of the Eastern Conference playoffs.
Dwayne Wade has been hampered by migraine headaches over the past few days, but there’s a good chance that Miami’s Game 2 blowout victory was ‘good medicine’.   We expect the Heat to eventually eliminate the Sixers and advance to the next round of the NBA playoffs but we don't see Philly going down without a fight.  They've become a very competitive and defensively intense team under head coach Doug Collins and that was evident in Game 1 when nothing came easily for the Heat.  The Sixers held the Heat to 41.9% shooting from the field and although Miami was able to match this effort on the defensive end it was far from the 'cakewalk' that many expected.
We look for a return to the Game 1 style as Philadelphia returns home. This is simply the way the Sixers play basketball and why they've been such a great pointspread investment this season.  Philly is 26-19 ATS as an underdog and 13-7 ATS against the Southeast Division.  They were especially effective in 'revenge' situations--the Sixers were 28-18 ATS when revenging a loss against an opponent.
Ultimately, the Heat just have too many weapons and we don't see the Sixers stealing this series.  We do expect Philadelphia to be competitive throughout, however, and force Miami to fight on every possession.  If the Sixers are able to steal a game it'll likely be in Game 3 on their home court, but they've got a very good opportunity to stay within the generous pointspread here.  Miami is focused on bigger matchups down the road and the Sixers are merely a nuisance.  That's a very dangerous mindset against a well coached and defensively tenacious Philadelphia team.