The Miami Heat blew out the Orlando Magic in the second game of the season back in early November. Since then, Magic fans have had today circled on their calendars. The “rematch” comes tonight as LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh make their first appearance at Amway Center. There is a lot of apprehension surrounding this game and both the Magic and the Heat are not performing (perhaps) to expectation.
So as these two Eastern Conference titans prepare for their second confrontation, I decided to get an update on the Miami Heat from Diego Quezada of Leaving it All on the Court. We exchanged questions, so be sure to check out my responses over at Leaving it All on the Court.
1. Miami had so many expectations surrounding it entering the season, but it has been a bit of an underwhelming start. What has been the Heat’s biggest issue and how do they go about solving it and getting “back on track” to meet those (sometimes unrealistic) expectations?
Diego: “The Heat’s number one problem is its offensive execution. Dwyane Wade and LeBron James still have no chemistry together; they take turns most offensive possessions. The vast majority of Miami’s plays are either pick-and-rolls or one-on-one isolation plays. Players are not moving without the ball and making strong cuts to the basket. Miami is also playing at a very slow pace. That’s why I said on my blog after the Indiana game that (Pat) Riley should coach this team.”
2. The Magic went to Miami and got a big serving of humble pie. What, in your opinion, went so right for Miami that night and what can Orlando do to make sure it does not happen Wednesday night?
Diego: “The Heat’s defense went well Oct. 29. Dwight Howard did show that he had some moves in his repertoire, but he went scoreless in the second half of that game and did not dunk. With Howard, as with LeBron and D-Wade, it’s better to have him shooting jumpers than getting to the rim. Miami also closed out to its shooters quickly, and Rashard Lewis and Vince Carter never got going.”
3. Obviously one game in November means very little for teams with title aspirations (at least they will say as much) and injuries have Miami a little short handed, but what is the significance or meaning of this game?
Diego: “This game is a golden opportunity for the Heat. In front of a nationally televised audience, Miami can show that it has moved past its recent struggles against the Memphis Grizzlies and Indiana Pacers. If the Heat competes in this game and wins, it will go a long way toward (temporarily) silencing the people who want Riley to coach. ”
4. Finally, who do you think wins the game?
Diego: “I’m predicting that Orlando will win the game.”
My thanks again to Diego for taking the time to talk about the Heat. Tip off is a 7:30 tonight from Amway Center. Be sure to stay tuned to the site around tip off as I should have some pregame updates from Amway Center.