2011 NBA Playoffs: 5 Predictions for Miami Heat-Philadelphia 76ers Series

Eric CaspersonCorrespondent IIApril 13, 2011

2011 NBA Playoffs: 5 Predictions for Miami Heat-Philadelphia 76ers Series

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    Game 1 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals are right around the corner.

    The Philadelphia 76ers will travel to Miami to play the Heat at 3:30 p.m. Saturday.

    The Sixers will come into the series as huge underdogs, as most experts will probably be picking the Heat to sweep the series.

    Not only will they be big underdogs, they will become "America's team" for the first week of the playoffs.

    The 76ers will undoubtedly gain valuable and much-needed experience, as most players do not have much, if any, playoff experience.

    With the rest of the country backing the Sixers, here are five predictions for the upcoming series.

5. Andre Iguodala Will Have a Big Series

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    Chances are, Andre Iguodala will be resting up for the last two games of the regular season.

    Iguodala has been favoring his right knee the past few days because of tendinitis.

    The Sixers are clearly a better team when they have a healthy Iggy on the floor.

    Without him, the Sixers are 5-9 this season.

    With his return after a short period of rest, Iguodala should be 100 percent and ready to go for the Heat series.

    Although he may not put up eye-popping numbers, his presence on the defensive end will largely impact the result of the games.

4. The Sixers Will Get Blown Out in Game 1

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    Contrary to what the rest of the country wants to happen, the Sixers will lose big on Saturday in Game 1.

    They have been faltering down the stretch—losing four of five—and their star player may not be 100 percent.

    The Heat will come out showing why they ended the season on a 35-16 run.

    LeBron James specifically will have an outstanding night as he tries to impress the world in his first playoff appearance with the Heat.

    I would not be surprised if the Heat win by at least 15-20 points.

3. The Sixers Will Steal a Game in Miami

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    After getting blown out in Game 1, I expect the Sixers to come out firing on all cylinders in Game 2.

    Doug Collins will have his young guns fired up and ready to bounce back after a tough defeat.

    One of the Sixers' only advantages in this series is their depth.

    If Miami gets in foul trouble and has to sit part of the Big Three, that opens the door for the Sixers to make a big run.

    Lou Williams looks like he will return for the series opener, which is great news for Philly.

    Whether it is Game 2 or Game 5, the Sixers will steal a win in Miami.

2. The Sixers Will Finally Get Some National Recognition

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    Correct me if I'm wrong, but the Sixers played zero nationally televised games this season.

    The rest of the country really does not know how well these players can play as a team.

    They probably look at Jrue Holiday and say, "Who?"

    The Sixers may not win this series, but they will make it interesting. Their style of play is very fun to watch and NBA fans will be surprised at how the Sixers went from being one of the worst teams in the league to a No. 7 seed.

    NBA fans will know the name Jrue Holiday after this playoff series.

1. The Sixers Ultimately Will Fall Short

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    In the end, the Miami Heat will be too much for the Sixers to handle.

    The Sixers have shown that they can play with the Heat for three quarters, but when it matters in the fourth, the Heat turn on the switch and start playing Heat basketball.

    Andre Iguodala is a shutdown defender, but he can only guard one player. If he covers LeBron James, who is going to stop Dwyane Wade?

    The Sixers are just outnumbered in pure talent here in the first round.

    It will be a great learning experience though for this young group.

    Heat in five.