The Magic welcome state rivals Miami to the Amway Centre tonight, with both teams looking to win their way up the next rung of the Eastern Conference ladder. Miami are in hot pursuit of Brooklyn for the automatic playoff spot whist the Magic are trying to Washington for the final play-in spot in a competitive Eastern Conference.
The Orlando Magic
- Orlando have a 27-40 record and remain 13th in the Eastern Conference.
- The Magic are 4-6 in the last 10 games and are currently on a 3 game losing streak.
- Last time at the Amway saw the Magic lose 131-124 to the Utah Jazz. The Magic were led by Rookie of the Year elect, Paolo Banchero, with 26 points and 8 rebounds. Support came from Franz Wagner (24 points), Markelle Fultz (25 points and 6 assists) and Jalen Suggs, who gave Orlando 17 points and 6 assists from the bench.
The Miami Heat
- Miami are fresh off a 119-115 against the Cleveland Cavaliers and currently sit 7th in the Eastern Conference.
- The Heat are also 4-6 in the last 10 games but enter the Amway having got some momentum back with a win over an impressive Cleveland team.
- Miami were led by 33 points from Jimmy Butler. He was supported by Tyler Herro (25 points) and a typical balanced performance from Bam Adebayo with 19 points, 6 rebounds, 4 assists and 3 steals.
What To Expect
- Miami’s win could and should be a confidence builderbut the impact of a back-to-back game should not be underestimated.
- A concern for the Magic could be the pairing of Adebayo and recently signed Kevin Love. Opponents have seemingly had their way with the Magic on the inside in recent games. The Magic hope to welcome back Wendell Carter Jr. This will provide a huge boost on the defensive side for the young Magic team.
- As always, Miami will look to be led by the always impressive Jimmy Butler. The former Marquette star is averaging 22.3 points per game, 6.1 rebounds and 5.1 assists whilst shooting 52.7% from the field.
- Butler has a lot of support from the also well-balanced Bam Adebayo (21.1 points per game, 9.4 rebounds) and Tyler Herro (20.4 points per game, 5.7 rebounds and 4.4 assists).
- Kevin Love is a recent acquisition by the Heat and he will bring strong rebounding and outside shooting.
- Kyle Lowry is currently listed as out for the game. Duncan Robinson is day-to-day (credit ESPN.com)
- Meanwhile, Orlando are expected to welcome back Wendell Carter Jr and currently, only Jonathan Isaac is listed as definitely out for the game and season.
- Rookie of the Year elect, Paolo Banchero leads the Magic with 20.1 points per game. He is supported by 18.9 points per game from Franz Wagner and 15 points per game from Carter.
- Markelle Fultz is become increasingly influential for Orlando, averaging 16.9 points per game, 4.8 rebounds, 5.7 assists and is shooting 54% from the floor and 90.6% from the FT line in the last 10 games. As statistics prove, Fultz being on the floor helps the Magic win.
- The two teams have played 132 games with Miami leading 75 to 57.
- Miami have won both games this season with a 110-105 win in January and 107-103 overtime win in February in a game the Magic could not put away despite leading for most of it.
- The Heat have won 7 of the last 8 games against Orlando. ESPN analytics predicts the Magic to win tonight.
One To Watch
- Victor Oladipo returns to Orlando tonight averaging 10.3 points per game, 3.3 rebounds and 3.3 assists, largely from the bench, on 39.2% from the floor.
- Oladipo was the second pick for the Magic in 2013 and was a popular player with many Magic fans.
- Injuries have curtailed the former All-Star’s career but he is still a dangerous player who can help the Heat.
- The last 10 games have seen numbers drop for Oladipo and he will likely see time against young Magic guards, Cole Anthony and Jalen Suggs in a past against present match up which could be a key bench battle in tonight’s game.