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Miami Heat: More Ideal Opponent in First Round, Boston Celtics or Orlando Magic?

DALLAS - FEBRUARY 20:  Guard Daequan Cook #14 of the Miami Heat takes a shot against Brendan Haywood #33 of the Dallas Mavericks on February 20, 2010 at American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
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Chris MillerCorrespondent IMarch 23, 2010

For Miami to extend their season, not only will they have to solidify a playoff spot, but they will have to draw the Boston Celtics or Orlando Magic in the first round.

Let's be realistic. The Miami Heat are not destined to win an NBA championship in 2010.

It's just not going to happen.

However, fans aren't about to give up on the team, or believe the fact that basketball season is soon drawing to a close.

That's where a competitive first round playoff matchup comes into play.

The Celtics are quite capable of folding to the Heat in the first round. Likewise, the Magic have allowed the Heat to play competitive basketball throughout the season series.

If the playoffs were to begin today, yes, the Heat would face Boston in a first round matchup. But what series would provide the Heat their best chance to advance to the second round?

Unfortunately, around a dozen games are left for each NBA team in the regular season. The playoff picture today could have a substantial change next week.

But it seems as if Milwaukee is beginning to solidify its grasp on the fifth seed as they continue to play at an incredible pace. It looks as if Miami will battle for the remaining bottom three seeds.

The Heat are just 3.5 games in front of the Chicago Bulls for ninth place in the playoff picture. A lock for the playoffs? Not quite yet, but with 11 games to play, surely in good position.

Miami fans, please agree that you wish not to see the Heat settle for the eighth seed and face off against the Cleveland Cavaliers in the first round. Wouldn't fans rather see Cleveland in the later rounds?

Eventually, if the Heat continue to win, they will face off against the Cavaliers at some point in the playoffs, most likely the second round.

Will it be competitive? Probably not. Or maybe it will.

But go back to the 2003-04 season, when the Heat advanced to the second round against the top-seeded Indiana Pacers.

Talk about exciting and thrilling basketball.

And some might believe the Heat's competitiveness during that second round series was due to the confidence boost it received from knocking off New Orleans in the first round.

The Heat might have that chance again this year.

So, what matchup would Heat fans wish for this season? What series gives the Heat the best chance to advance to the second round?

If it's not Boston or Orlando, then Miami fans have reason to suspect the team will once again finish a "one and done" postseason.

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