The Magic face the Heat tonight in Miami on the second night of a tough road back-to-back for Orlando’s young squad.
The tip time is shown on the NBA app and the Orlando Magic website as being 12:30 am here in the UK (7:30pm Eastern for our friends in Orlando).
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The Match Up As The Magic Face The Heat
Orlando took their first win of the season last night in a superb team performance on the road against the New York Knicks. The Magic improved their season start to a losing 1-2 record with the 110-104 victory.
The win saw contributions across the whole team. Cole Anthony put on a show scoring 29 points (the second most of his career), dished 8 assists and grabbed a career high 16 rebounds for an impressive double-double. Terrence Ross scored all his 22 points in the final quarter, in a display that secured the W. Again Mo Bamba and Wendell Carter Jr combined effectively as Bamba recorded another double-double. WCJ was joined in double digit scoring by rookies Jalen Suggs, Franz Wagner and his elder brother Moe Wagner.
Miami have a 1-1 record in the two games played. They opened their season at home by blowing the Milwaukee Bucks away by 95-137. They followed this up with a road loss in overtime on Saturday night to the Indiana Pacers by 91-102. Tyler Herro led Miami as he continued his impressive start to the season with a double-double of 30 points and 10 rebounds from the bench. Bam Adebayo also registered a double-double of 17 points and 16 rebounds. Jimmy Butler and Duncan Robinson both scored in double figures. Despite these contributions Miami struggled offensively. The other 5 players used combined for just 11 points. Miami also turned the ball over 22 times.
A way too early look at the Eastern Conference sees the Magic sitting 12th. Also on a 1-2 losing record are Toronto, Boston, Cleveland, Indiana and Brooklyn. Meanwhile Miami at 1-1 are 7th in the East, tied with Atlanta.
Our Opponents – The Miami Heat
Coach Eric Spoelstra has been at the Miami helm now since 2008. Under his exceptional coaching the team have known success and are tipped by many to be in the finals conversation come season end. Before then though there is a lot of basketball to be played and no guarantees of success.
On Saturday against the Pacers Miami used a starting unit of Gabe Vincent (PG), Duncan Robinson (SG), Jimmy Butler (SF), PJ Tucker (PF) and Bam Adebayo (C).
From the bench came Tyler Herro, Markieff Morris, Max Strus and former Orlando centre Dewayne Dedmon.
At the time of writing ESPN list Kyle Lowry as day-to-day and questionable for tonight with an ankle injury. Former Magic favourite Victor Oladipo remains out with a long term quad injury.
Jimmy Butler is an all-star talent that can carry his team. He is combative and able to get under the skin of opponents. Herro is shooting the lights out. Adebayo and Robinson have both had strong season starts on the boards and with point scoring. Tucker has a ring from last season with the Bucks, is a tough defender and shot from the wing last season at almost 40%.
At this moment there is still a question in some quarters of Lowry and Butler’s playing styles being compatible. Both are ball handler, create their own shot and capable of shooting from deep. Lowry likes to play at pace, using a fast transition game. Butler plays at a slower, measured pace. If Lowry misses his second successive game this will not be an issue.
Head-To-Head – The Miami Heat
The all time head-to-head record in the 126 regular season games played sees the Magic trailing by 56-70.
Last season the teams met three times, Miami taking the series 2-1. Orlando took an opening night win in the Amway Center by 107-113. On Game Day 37 in Miami the Heat took a 103-111 win on the back of a big Jimmy Butler performance. The final meeting was on Game Day 39 on March 14th, seeing the Heat win by 102-97 in Orlando.
Season 2019-20 saw Orlando beaten 1-3 across the four meetings. Few Magic fans will forget the game on January 4th 2020 in the Amway Center when Orlando won 85-105. It was a superb defensive performance, culminating in holding the Heat to just 6 points in the 4th quarter. From that point onwards the results went downhill.
In the playoffs the teams have met over 5 games in 1997, Orlando losing 3-2 in the Eastern Conference First Round.
The Orlando Magic Injury Report
At the time of writing ESPN show Orlando as having the same injury concerns as last night. It will again see the Magic with potentially just 10 available players.
Gary Harris remains questionable with a hamstring injury. He did go through warm up last night in an evaluation of fitness to play.
E’Twaun Moore remains out, diagnosed with a left sprained knee.
Chuma Okeke is also out with hip bruising.
Michael Carter-Williams is out after undergoing surgery to remove a bone fragment and repair his left ankle ligament.
Jonathan Isaac continues to be out as he rehabilitates from a left knee ACL injury that saw him miss all of last season.
Markelle Fultz is still out after last season’s left knee ACL tear and subsequent surgery. Video now shows him moving freely in non-contact practice on the court.
The Orlando Lineup As The Magic Face The Heat
Coach Mosely has used the same starting lineup in all three games of the season so far. It is the youngest starting lineup used in the past 50 years in the NBA. It features a pair of rookies, a second year player and two entering their fourth NBA season. If Gary Harris remains out expect to see Jalen Suggs (PG), Cole Anthony (SG), Franz Wagner (SF), Wendell Carter Jr (PF) and Mo Bamba (C) go again.
From the bench will be Terrence Ross, Robin Lopez, Ignas Brazdeikis, Moe Wagner and RJ Hampton.
Check Out Other Orlando Magic U.K. Content
On each game day make sure to check Twitter and Facebook to play along with our Magic Moments competition. Simply comment with your prediction for each of five questions we will ask on that night’s game. At the end of the season we will send out a prize to whoever tops the league with the most correct predictions.
Be sure to subscribe to Orlando Magic U.K. YouTube channel for episodes of our podcast Penny For Your Thoughts.
Final Thoughts As The Magic Face The Heat
Coach Mosely has his first win as an NBA head coach. The young and developing Magic squad showed heart and hustle against the Knicks last night. They applied the principles that the Coach wants his team to play with. They were aggressive on defence, particularly in the paint. Hands were active resulting in a lot of deflections and a healthy 7 steals. The steals led to 16 points off turnovers. Orlando moved the ball on attack, creating some great looks. Shot selection was better, as was accuracy. The team got to the foul line to keep the scoreboard ticking over. Importantly Orlando looked after the ball seeing turnovers drop dramatically.
On the second night of a road back-to-back that same energy will be difficult to replicate, especially against a rested team. However if they can there is no reason why Orlando cannot see a second win of the season being gained. Mistakes will be punished by a talented Miami team stung by the loss to the Pacers.
The matchups in this one could be fascinating and fiery.
Let’s Go Magic!