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Are Miami Heat secretly rooting for Sixers to beat Celtics?

Spencer Hawes, Elton Brand, Andre Iguodala, Evan Turner, Paul Pierce

Boston Celtics’ Paul Pierce (34) looks to pass as Philadelphia 76ers’ Elton Brand, Spencer Hawes, Andre Iguodala and Evan Turner, from right, defend during the second half of Game 6 of an NBA basketball Eastern Conference semifinal playoff series, Wednesday, May 23, 2012, in Philadelphia. Philadelphia won 82-75. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)


Sports tradition calls for you to say, “We’re just happy to be here, both teams present challenges and we will just try to be ready.”

That’s… organic fertilizer from male cows.

NBA players and coaches have preferences. And like the rest of us in life what they are rooting for is the easiest path to their goal.

In the case of the Miami Heat, sitting in a South Beach bar somewhere watching the Celtics and Sixers slug it out in Game 7 on Saturday, they won’t say it but they actually do, suggests Brian Windhorst at ESPN’s Heat Index.

But honestly, the Heat will not be rooting for the Celtics on Saturday. It may have less poetry and glamour, but the Heat most likely would much rather see the 76ers pull the upset.

It is true that the 76ers are younger, more athletic, deeper and healthier than the Celtics at this point. But the Heat have dominated Philadelphia like no other team in the East over the past two seasons; the two teams have played 12 times, including the first round of last year’s playoffs. Eleven times the Heat have won, including sweeping this season’s series 4-0.

Miami will likely get the challenge of Boston and Kevin Garnett – a serious challenge with Chris Bosh still home with a strained abdominal.

But if LeBron James and Dwyane Wade play like they did Thursday night in the next round, it will not matter which of those two teams they play.