The Orlando Magic host the Miami Heat in the Amway tonight for Game Day 39. Miami have strong recent form so it will be no easy task for the Magic to get an overdue win tonight.
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The tip time is shown on the NBA app and Orlando Magic website as being a 11:00pm here in the UK (7:00pm Eastern for our friends in Orlando).
THE MATCHUP FOR THE MIAMI HEAT IN THE AMWAY
The Miami Heat have continued their form from pre-All-Star. The Heat beat the Bulls in Chicago 101-90 when they last played on Friday night. Jimmy Butler led the team with 28 points and 8 assists. Three others made double figure scoring.
The Magic took a seventh consecutive loss in Texas to the San Antonio Spurs on Friday night. The loss was a season low for scoring at 77-104. Orlando had led by 29-16 after a strong first quarter, only to manage another 48 points across the remaining three quarters. The team was again led by Nikola Vucevic hitting 26 points, 3 assists and 9 rebounds. This was a dismal performance for long periods, particularly in th 2nd quarter where Orlando managed only 10 points. Dwayne Bacon was the only other player to make double figure scoring with 15 points.
The Heat have won 9 of 19 games on the road this season. Orlando have won 8 of 20 games in the Amway Season records see Orlando at 13-25, whilst Miami are 20-18. Across the last 10 games that each team has played Orlando have a 3-7 record, whilst Miami are 9-1. Orlando have now lost their last seven games, whilst Miami’s win win streak is at 3 games.
Miami are holding the 4th 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 5th sees them conceding an average of 107.8 points per game.
Offensively they are a team happy to be patient and use all of the shot clock, but if the opportunity arises they will play with pace . Scoring wise 47.8% comes from inside the paint. 36.1% of their points per game come from beyond the arc. They shoot 46.2% from the field and 35.2% with the 3 ball. Assists per game are greater than that of the Magic at 25.8 per game, Orlando average 22.6.
Defensively they block 3.9 times per game, whilst stealing the ball 7.2 per game. They turn the ball over a lot at a rate of 15.4 times per game. On average they foul 19.3 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 (10.3 PPG), Jimmy Butler (21.1 PPG), Duncan Robinson (12.8 PPG), Kendrick Nunn (14 PPG) and KZ Okpala (2.2 PPG).
From the bench came Goran Dragic (15 PPG), Tyler Herro (15.4 PPG), Andre Iguodala (4.7 PPG) Chris Silva (3.5 PPG) and Precious Achiuwa (5.8 PPG). They also have veterans Mo Harkless (1.4 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 day-to-day.
THE HEAD-TO-HEAD: THE MIAMI HEAT
This will be the third and final 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. Four days ago on game day 37 in Miami the Heat took a 103-111 win on the back of a Jimmy Butler 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 125 regular season games played sees the Magic behind by 56-69.
In the playoffs we have met over 5 games in 1997, losing 3-2.
THE MAGIC INJURY AND ABSENCE REPORT
For those embracing the tank the injury report is still favourable!
As I write the injury report has just been updated on ESPN:
Evan Fournier (18.5 PPG) is listed as out. with a groin issue.
Aaron Gordon (13.6 PPG) is listed as day-to-day. Though he returned on a minutes restriction in Miami, playing 14 minutes he will not feature again tonight with ankle soreness.
James Ennis III (7.3 PPG) is out with a calf injury.
Terrence Ross (15.5 PPG) is listed as day-to-day with knee soreness. He is questionable for tonight.
Cole Anthony (11 PPG) remains out with a non-displaced rib fracture.
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 with the Lakeland Magic, though should return to the team soon. The NBA G-League season finished on Thursday with the Lakeland Magic winning the title.
THE ORLANDO LINE-UP FOR THE MIAMI HEAT IN THE AMWAY
The starting unit against San Antonio was the 17th used by Orland this season. Chuma Okeke (4.5 PPG) made his first NBA start joining Michael Carter-Williams (9.4 PPG), Al-Farouq Aminu (4.7 PPG), Dwayne Bacon (10.4 PPG) and Nikola Vucevic (24.6 PPG).
From the bench came Chasson Randle (5.7 PPG), Khem Birch (5.8 PPG), Mo Bamba (4.9 PPG) and Gary Clark (3.5 PPG).
THE MAGIC NUMBERS
EASTERN CONFERENCE STANDING – 14th
SEASON RECORD – 13-25
HOME RECORD – 8-12
ROAD RECORD – 5-13
NBA OFFENSIVE RANK AND RATING – 27TH OF 30 (105.6)
NBA DEFENSIVE RANK AND RATING – 20TH OF 30 (112.8)
POINTS PER GAME – 29TH OF 30 (104.8)
OPPONENTS POINTS PER GAME – 16TH OF 30 (111.9)
RECORDS WHEN LEADING AND SCORING
RECORD LEADING AFTER THE FIRST QUARTER – 6-7
WHEN LEADING AT HALF TIME – 11-3
AND WHEN LEADING GOING INTO THE FOURTH QUARTER – 9-2
RECORD WHEN SCORING LESS THAN 100 POINTS – 1-14
WHEN SCORING 100 TO 109 POINTS – 4-7
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 – 3-5
AND WHEN CONCEDING 110 TO 119 POINTS – 3-8
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 WASHINGTON WIZARDS
LEAST POINTS SCORED THIS SEASON – 77 – GAME DAY 38 SAN ANTONIO SPURS
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 FOR THE MIAMI HEAT IN THE AMWAY
For the Miami Heat in the Amway tonight Coach Clifford will be looking at Orlando’s injuries knowing they are still impacting. Simply put Orlando have four starters, the leading scorer from the bench, a solid role player and back-up point guard all absent. Once again this will be a team playing with what it has available.
A winning 3 game run has been replaced by 7 consecutive losses and Orlando are becoming cut 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 underway Orlando must find form if they aim to compete.
Miami are tough on defence and led by the tenacious Jimmy Butler. We saw on Thursday 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 all capable three point shooters, whilst Dragic is a player who will drive to the paint and draw fouls.
To compete with teams Orlando have to find some way to score outside of Vucevic. He is bearing the offensive load but cannot do it without others contributing effectively. 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. In many recent games, including both since All-Star this failing has been costly.
An effective defence will again be hugely important to who wins this game.