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Heat Vs. 76ers Predictions, 2011 NBA Playoffs

The 2011 NBA Playoffs begin on Saturday, with eight first-round series all playing their first game over the weekend. Who do we think will move on? Will there be any upsets? Which series will end quickly, and which will go the distance? SB Nation's trio of NBA writers -- Tom Ziller, Mike Prada and Andrew Sharp -- will be making their picks for each pick in this StoryStream. Here are our picks for the Heat vs. 76ers series.

TOM ZILLER

Heat in 5. Philadelphia has a solid defense and a couple of dangerous scorers in Jrue Holiday, Elton Brand and Andre Iguodala. But the Sixers have no one to capitalize on the Heat's center problem, and Miami's defense should be able to suffocate Philly's wing scoring. Expect Dwyane Wade to get off to a great start.    

ANDREW SHARP (link)

Philly's best chance to make some noise here is to steal Game 1 on Saturday, and then hope that the media FREAKS OUT in the ensuing four days before Game 2 Wednesday. LeBron and the Miami Heat have a lot of strengths, but tuning out the media hasn't been one of them this year. I mean, why else would they cry over a regular season losing streak? The Lakers just lost five straight games, and the Lamar Odom's biggest drama had to do with his reality show's ratings.

For the Heat, this could be a serious issue later on, but if they lose Saturday, it could start sooner than expected. 'Course, even then, there's still no way Miami loses. The Pick: Heat in 5. 

MIKE PRADA

I feel bad for the 76ers, because this is an awful matchup. Miami's perimeter defense is too strong, and without a big-time post presence, the 76ers are going to have trouble scoring unless Elton Brand really turns back the clock. Philly also needs Jrue Holiday to really step up, and I'm not sure he's capable of doing that at such a young age in such a big spot. Heat in 5.

Keep up with our Heat Vs. 76ers, NBA Playoffs section for all the coverage of this series you need. For more on the Heat, head over to Peninsula is Mightier. For 76ers' coverage and analysis, visit Liberty Ballers and SB Nation Philly.