Heat-Magic Preview

The Orlando Magic have been running hot and cold over the last

two weeks.

That’s unlike the Miami Heat, who have been simply scorching of

late.

The Magic look to bounce back from another frustrating defeat as

they try to prevent the Southeast Division-leading Heat from a

fourth straight win Wednesday night at the Amway Center.

While Miami (19-6) has won 11 of 13 since dropping a season-high

three in a row, Orlando (15-10) had its three-game winning streak

snapped with a 107-102 overtime loss Monday. It was the Magic’s

first defeat since a four-game skid that preceded the winning

stretch.

The Magic must be on top of their game to have a chance at

cooling off a Heat club holding opponents to 91.7 points per

contest over the last 13 games. Orlando, which split the four-game

season series with the Heat in 2010-11, is four games behind Miami

in the Southeast.

“(The Heat are) a great team and a team that we always like

competing against, so it should be a good game,” forward Ryan

Anderson told the Magic’ official website. “Miami is one of the

teams that we know we have to get through if we want to really be

successful this season.”

This is the opener of a six-game road trip for Miami, which is

7-4 away from home. The Heat split their two games at Orlando last

season.

“I think it’s going to be great,” LeBron James said. “One thing

about us, we love these road trips. They bring us together even

more. It’s just us. It’s the 15 guys, the coaching staff, the

training staff and we all come together. It’s a big test for

us.”

James averaged 30.0 points on 59.7 percent (43 of 72) shooting

against the Magic last season. He scored a season-high 51 on

17-of-25 shooting and added 11 rebounds with eight assists in the

Heat’s 104-100 win in their last visit to Orlando on Feb. 3,

2011.

Dwyane Wade averaged 21.5 points against the Magic last season,

but went 11 of 33 from the field while scoring 32 in the two games

at Orlando. Wade’s averaged 24.4 points on 51.8 percent shooting in

his last five overall.

He had 26 while James added 24 as Miami outscored Cleveland

29-19 in the fourth quarter Tuesday.

“They have looked unbelievable,” Magic coach Stan Van Gundy

said. “They’ve had their nights where they weren’t so good, but

when you watch somebody like that you normally go to the schedule

and realize they are playing their fifth game in seven nights or

something.”

Orlando’s current problem remains inconsistency.

Two nights after a strong defensive effort led to an 85-81 win

at Indiana on Saturday, the Magic blew a 15-point first-half lead

against the Clippers. Dwight Howard had 33 points with 14 rebounds,

Jason Richardson scored 20 and Jameer Nelson added 15 with 12

assists in his return from a five-game absence to deal with

concussion symptoms.

“Our guys played hard,” Van Gundy said. “The only thing I fault

our guys for was the start of the third quarter. The first six

minutes, we came with no energy whatsoever. The rest, it’s on

me.”

Howard has averaged 24.4 points and 13.7 rebounds in the last

seven games, but he’s scored more than 19 points once in the last

eight meetings with Miami.