Heat, Magic face off for first time this season
Tune into FOX Sports Florida or Sun Sports at 6:30 p.m. as the Miami Heat visit the Orlando Magic.
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.