Tonight our Orlando Magic are in Miami, taking on the high flying Heat in the second night of a back-to-back. This one has a U.K. tip time of 12:30am & the game will as always be available live & on demand via the NBA League Pass.
The Magic are now at a record of 21 & 26 for the season, sitting a 7th in the Eastern Conference. Across our last 10 games we are 4 & 6. Our road form has been disappointing all season, sitting at 8 & 15. Our last outing ended in defeat again, being to the LA Clippers by 112-97.
In the NBA offensive rankings we remain 26th with a rating of 105.7 & scoring 103.7 points per game (which is still the 29th worst record in the NBA for ppg).
Our defensive ranking again took a bit of a hit from the defeat, dropping back to 7th best at 106.6, whilst still allowing only 104.5 points per game (though this is still the best record for opponents ppg in the NBA).
The Magic Injury Report & Starters
The injury report for the Magic is no change. Jonathan Isaac (12 ppg) is out with a severe left knee strain & bone contusion & will not be re-evaluated until early-mid March. Al-Farouq Aminu (4.3 ppg) (torn meniscus) is out indefinitely after surgery & we have been granted the disabled player exception for him. DJ Augustin (10.7 ppg) is out with a knee injury which after an MRI scan has resulted in his being out until at least mid February.
Therefore our starting lineup will likely be Evan Fournier (19 ppg), Nikola Vucevic (18.8 ppg), Markelle Fultz (11.7 ppg) & Aaron Gordon (13.3 ppg) joined by Khem Birch (4.1 ppg) or Wes Iwundu (5.1 ppg), depending upon who Coach Clifford feels matches best to our opponents.
From the bench we have Michael Carter-Williams (6.2 ppg), Terence Ross (13.4 ppg), Mo Bamba (5.3 ppg), BJ Johnson (2.2 ppg) & Amile Jefferson (0.9 ppg).
The Orlando Magic PR have tweeted out that we wear tonight the white Association uniform tonight.
Turning to our opponents, the Heat are led by Jimmy Butler (20.3 ppg) & have a lot of quality to draw from. They are currently 3rd in the East with a 31 & 14 record. They have won 20 of their 22 games on their home court & across all games have won 6 of their last 10. The Heat last played on Friday, having lost at home against the Clippers 122-117.
Miami rank offensively 8th in the NBA with a rating of 112.1 & scoring 112.2 points per game. Defensively their rating of 108.6 is 14th in the NBA, allowing opponents an average of 108.7 points per game.
The Heat have injury issues to some big players. Justice Winslow (11.3 ppg) (back) is out, there are game time decisions are to be made on Jimmy Butler (ankle), Goran Dragic (15.8 ppg) (calf) & Kendrick Nunn (16.2 ppg) (achilles) are all questionable, whilst Bam Adebayo (15.9 ppg) (ankle) is probable.
We have met this season, on the 4th of January when we won in the Amway 85-105, holding them to 6 points in the 4th quarter. Last season we won the series by 3 & 1. The all time head-to-head record in the 120 regular season games played sees the Magic behind by 55-65.
As with our last few outings be under no illusion that this is a tough game, especially on the second night of a back-to-back. It is a game in which very few people give us a chance but we often give the Heat a game regardless of form & injuries. I think this is one in which we could get a result in & break this slump in form we have been through recently.
WE BELIEVE IN OUR TEAM! LET’S GO MAGIC!