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Bet on the NBAIf they are smart and the professional athletes we expect them to be, then the Miami Heat have learned a lot of lessons this NBA regular season.

They learned that predicting seven NBA Championships before the won their first was an invitation to extra media scrutiny. They learned that they would get no sympathy from fans or basketball experts going on a five-game losing streak after the All-Star Break.

And most worrisome for their 2011 playoff hopes, the Heat may have learned that they have great difficulty beating the most elite teams in the Eastern Conference. Miami dropped every regular season game to the Chicago Bulls, and were in danger of facing the same fate with the Boston Celtics before winning their last game against that team.

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While the Heat ended the season with the second best record in the East and third best in the league, there are still a lot of worries for this team. When their Big Three, LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh have a good night, the Heat can win and dominate theis opponents. But if even one of those three plays badly, Miami struggles even against lesser teams.

Of the top teams in the East, the Heat also have one of the weaker home win records, going 30-11 in South Beach. Boston is 33-8, while the Bulls are 36-5. The Heat play at home in almost the second tier of the conference, closer to the Orlando Magic's 29-12 record. Thankfully for the Heat, they start off the playoffs against one of the weaker road teams.

While the Philadelphia 76ers play fairly well at home with a 26-15 regular season record, they were much worse away from home, going 15-26. While Miami should have this playoff series wrapped up, I wouldn't expect them to sweep the 76ers. In fact, I would not be surprised to see the Heat lose a game or two before advancing to the second round.

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