NBA Playoffs 2011: Miami Heat vs. Philadelphia 76ers, Game 3 Preview

Kevin RobertsSenior Writer IApril 21, 2011

MIAMI, FL - APRIL 18:  LeBron James #6 of the Miami Heat looks on  during game two of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals against the Philadelphia 76ers at American Airlines Arena on April 18, 2011 in Miami, Florida. 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 Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

The Miami Heat are realizing their potential, and it's all coming at the expense of the young, scrappy Philadelphia 76ers. It may continue that way as the Heat travel to Philly for Game 3.

Game 1 was an intense battle that saw the Sixers roar back and make the Heat sweat, while Game 2 never saw Philadelphia really play their game. Read on for what could be in store for tonight's Game 3.

Why the Heat Will Win

They're the better team. They're more athletic, more experienced and hungrier. The Heat looked like a bunch of whiney kids earlier in the year, but we haven't seen that side of them in at least a month or two. LeBron James and Dwyade Wade are effortlessly exchanging roles at the appropriate times and Chris Bosh is doing his part in contributing as a member of the "new big three."

The fact is, the Heat can play at about 75 percent and still stay in most games. It's their mental lapses that causes them to shutdown at the end of some games, but when the talent level is so dramatically different like it is in this series, it just doesn't even matter.

With no real go-to guy for Philly, Miami simply needs to play their own game, concentrate on good team defense and match any wild runs the 76ers go on.

Why the 76ers Will Win

They're at home and Doug Collins is an awesome coach. Collins turned a 3-13 team into a very hard-working playoff team. On paper they're still just an average squad that could stand to upgrade at more than one position, but on the court they can compete with anyone.

Unfortunately, competing isn't winning. To win tonight's game, the Sixers will have to simply knock down their shots and get back to playing the good defense they're capable of. They really were all over the place in Game 2, both offensively and defensively. A return to reality could have them coming out with a vengeance. If they do that with the home crowd backing them, they could take it.

The Call

I could have seen the Sixers take the Heat by surprise in Game 1 and then maybe make a series out of it. But it looks like Philly's chance at catching Miami off-guard is gone, and they'll have to settle with just finishing on a good note by giving it their all. They're easily the inferior team; their best effort simply won't be good enough.

Heat 92, 76ers 85

Check out game previews for the other two NBA Playoff games going on tonight!