The Orlando Magic aim to cool the Heat in Miami tonight for Game Day 37 as Magic basketball resumes after the All-Star break. Miami have found some form of late so it will be no easy task for the Magic to take a win tonight.
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The tip time is shown on the NBA app and Orlando Magic website as being a 1:00am here in the UK (8:00pm Eastern for our friends in Orlando).
THE MATCHUP AS THE MAGIC AIM TO COOL THE HEAT IN MIAMI
The Miami Heat are also starting back after All-Star. The Heat beat the Pelicans in New Orleans 103-93 when they last played on Thursday March 4th. Jimmy Butler led the team with 29 points and 9 assists. Four others made double figure scoring.
The Magic took a fifth consecutive loss by 115-112 to the Atlanta Hawks on Wednesday 3rd March in the Amway. Orlando had led virtually throughout the game, only to slip to a 115-112 loss late in the 4th quarter. The team was again led by Nikola Vucevic hitting 29 points and 9 rebounds. This was a better offensive performance for long periods. The rest of the scoring was carried by Terrence Ross (28 points), Michael Carter-Williams (20 points) and Al-Farouq Aminu (14 points).
The Heat have won 10 of 18 games at home this season. Orlando have won 5 of 16 games on the road. Season records see Orlando at 13-23, whilst Miami are 18-18. Across the last 10 games that each team has played Orlando have a 4-6 record, whilst Miami are 7-3. Orlando have now lost their last five games, whilst Miami’s win win streak is at 1 game.
Miami are holding the 6th seed position in the Eastern Conference, Orlando are 14th.
OUR OPPONENTS – THE MIAMI HEAT
The Heat come into the game as the NBA’s 25th ranked offensive team, scoring 106.8 points per game. A defensive rating at 9th sees them conceding an average of 108.4 points per game.
Offensively they are another team happy to play at pace or to be patient and use all of the shot clock. Scoring wise 47.8% comes from inside the paint. 35.9% of their points per game come from beyond the arc. They shoot 46.2% from the field and 35.3% with the 3 ball. Assists per game are greater than that of the Magic at 25.8 per game, Orlando average 22.8.
Defensively they block 3.9 times per game, whilst stealing the ball 7.1 per game. They turn the ball over a lot at a rate of 15.7 times per game. On average they foul 19.6 times per game. Orlando by contrast foul only 16.9 times per game, the best record in the NBA. Miami have a low total rebounding stat rating 27th in the league and are last in offensive rebounds.
THE MIAMI HEAT SQUAD
Miami’s Head Coach is the excellent Eric Spoelstra. He used a starting line-up of Kelly Olynyk (10.1 PPG), Jimmy Butler (20.5 PPG), Duncan Robinson (12.8 PPG), Kendrick Nunn (14.2 PPG) and KZ Okpala (2 PPG).
From the bench came Goran Dragic (14.8 PPG), Tyler Herro (15.8 PPG), Andre Iguodala (4.9 PPG) and Precious Achiuwa (6.1 PPG). They also have veterans Mo Harkless (1.2 PPG) and Udonis Haslam (0 PPG) available.
According to their injury report on ESPN Avery Bradley (8.5 PPG) and Bam Adebayo (19.2 PPG) are both out with injuries. Meyers Leonard (3.3 PPG) is also out injured but now away from the team indefinitely following his use of a racial slur online. Gabe Vincent (5.8 PPG) is probable for tonight.
THE HEAD-TO-HEAD: THE MIAMI HEAT
This will be the second meeting this season. We met on opening night in the Amway where Orlando took a 107-113 win. Evan Fournier gave a team leading performance.
We met our State, Division and Conference rivals 4 times last season, being beaten 1-3. On January 4th 2020 in the Amway Orlando won 85-105, holding the Heat to just 6 points in the 4th quarter. From that point on the results went downhill.
On January 27th the Magic lost in Miami 92-113 and a few days later on February 1st the Heat took the W by 89-102 in the Amway. Finally on March 4th in Miami the Magic tasted another defeat by 113-116. The season score reflects the turnaround in fortunes for each team from the 2018-19 season when Orlando won the series 3-1.
The all time head-to-head record in the 124 regular season games played sees the Magic behind by 56-68.
In the playoffs we have met over 5 games in 1997, losing 3-2.
THE MAGIC INJURY AND ABSENCE REPORT
The injury report is worsening.
According to ESPN:
Evan Fournier (18.5 PPG) is listed as day-to-day but out for tonight after suffering a left groin strain in the Dallas defeat.
James Ennis III (7.3 PPG) is out with a calf injury.
Cole Anthony (11 PPG) remains out with a non-displaced rib fracture.
Aaron Gordon (13.8 PPG) is listed as out but questionable for tonight following his long term absence with a severe left ankle sprain.
Markelle Fultz (12.9 PPG) has a torn left knee ACL, a season finishing injury. He is now in the lengthy process of rehab following successful surgery.
Jonathan Isaac is out indefinitely recovering from knee surgery.
Karim Mane (1.2 PPG) is absent to be with the Lakeland Magic. The NBA G-League season began on February 10th in a “bubble” at Walt Disney World.
THE MAGIC LINE-UP TO COOL THE HEAT IN MIAMI
The starting unit against Atlanta was Michael Carter-Williams (9 PPG), Al-Farouq Aminu (5.2 PPG), Terrence Ross (15.5 PPG), Dwayne Bacon (10.1 PPG) and Nikola Vucevic (24.6 PPG).
From the bench came Chasson Randle (5.3 PPG), Chuma Okeke (4.4 PPG), Khem Birch (5.9 PPG), Mo Bamba (4.8 PPG) and Gary Clark (3.3 PPG).
THE MAGIC NUMBERS
EASTERN CONFERENCE STANDING – 14th
SEASON RECORD – 13-23
HOME RECORD – 8-12
ROAD RECORD – 5-11
NBA OFFENSIVE RANK AND RATING – 26TH OF 30 (106.3)
NBA DEFENSIVE RANK AND RATING – 21ST OF 30 (112.9)
POINTS PER GAME – 28TH OF 30 (105.8)
OPPONENTS POINTS PER GAME – 17TH OF 30 (112.2)
RECORDS WHEN LEADING AND SCORING
RECORD LEADING AFTER THE FIRST QUARTER – 6-5
WHEN LEADING AT HALF TIME – 11-3
AND WHEN LEADING GOING INTO THE FOURTH QUARTER – 9-2
RECORD WHEN SCORING LESS THAN 100 POINTS – 1-13
WHEN SCORING 100 TO 109 POINTS – 4-6
WHEN SCORING 110 TO 119 POINTS OR MORE – 3-3
AND WHEN SCORING 120 POINTS OR MORE – 5-1
RECORDS FOR CONCEDING THIS SEASON
RECORD WHEN CONCEDING 100 POINTS OR LESS – 5-1
WHEN CONCEDING 100 TO 109 POINTS – 3-4
AND WHEN CONCEDING 110 TO 119 POINTS – 3-7
RECORD WHEN CONCEDING 120 POINTS OR MORE – 2-10
LEAST AND LARGEST ON THE SEASON
LARGEST MARGIN OF VICTORY – 20 – GAME DAY 7 CLEVELAND CAVALIERS
LARGEST MARGIN OF DEFEAT – 42 – GAME DAY 9 HOUSTON ROCKETS
HIGHEST POINTS SCORED THIS SEASON – 130 – GAME DAY 2 VS WASHINGTON WIZARDS
LEAST POINTS SCORED THIS SEASON – 84 – GAME DAY 14 NEW YORK KNICKS
MOST POINTS CONCEDED THIS SEASON – 132 – GAME DAY 9 HOUSTON ROCKETS
LEAST POINTS CONCEDED THIS SEASON – 83 – GAME DAY 7 CLEVELAND CAVALIERS
PENNY FOR YOUR THOUGHTS
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KEYS TO THE GAMES AS THE MAGIC AIM TO COOL THE HEAT IN MIAMI
As the Orlando Magic aim to cool the Heat in Miami tonight Coach Clifford will be wanting a morale boosting win to come out of the All-Star break. A winning 3 game run has been replaced by 5 consecutive losses and Orlando are in danger of becoming adrift in the standings. If you embrace the tank then that is great news. With a universally accepted tough schedule to the second half of the season now beginning Orlando must find form if they aim to compete.
Miami are tough on defence and led by the teancious Jimmy Butler. He is a player capable of putting the team on his shoulders to create a win.
Orlando will need to be aware of the threats from elsewhere on the team. Herro, Robinson, Nunn and Olynyk are capable three point shooters, whilst Dragic is a player who will drive to the paint and draw fouls.
Orlando’s injuries are still impacting. With four starters, a solid role player and the back-up point guard all absent this will again be a team playing with what it has available. Miami will know that of late the scoring threat has been from Vucevic, Ross and Carter-Williams for Orlando. Others must take the opportunities presented to allow those three to have space to play.
For Orlando scoring is again a key. Statistics show that if we hit less than 100 points then we almost certainly lose. As previously the team can not afford to get into foul trouble and must limit live ball turnovers.
Tonight could revolve around who’s defence performs best.