The Miami Heat have, in a comparative sense, had a rather easy time with the Philadelphia 76ers. Games 1 and 3 were close late, but Miami has yet to require one heroic shot or some improbable finish to win any of the three games in this series. Other teams -- the Celtics and Thunder -- are up 3-0, but have been in complete dogfights in a couple of their games. Miami has seen minimal pressure.
That's no knock on the Sixers, who weren't even supposed to be here today. Philadelphia was one of the very worst teams in the league last season, and probably downgraded their talent base in the offseason. That's how good a job Doug Collins has done as coach, how much Jrue Holiday and Thaddeus Young have improved and how misunderstood a player Andre Iguodala has always been. But the Heat are simply too much, as we all should have expected; it's a team with three offensive stars and a great defense against a team with zero offensive stars and a great defense. It's a really simple math.
Assuming a win here in Game 4 (1 p.m. ET, ABC) or back in South Beach in Game 5, the Heat will begin preparations for the Boston Celtics, a team that took three of four meetings during the regular season. The Sixers' plan are less clear -- just about every player on the roster is under contract for next year, but the team lacks cap space and spent it's single super-high draft pick on Evan Turner, who will develop but may not have a Holiday-like ascension next year. We might meet the Sixers back in this same situation a year from now, which is OK, given the recent past.
For Miami, the stakes are much higher, and they would certainly like to get a jump on Round 2.