The Magic got out on the break on one of those rare Heat turnovers and Jameer Nelson found E'Twaun Moore along the baseline. Moore had a clear path and rose up for a modest jam. His hand barely got above the rim to send the ball through.
It still sent Amway Center into something of a frenzy. Just a possession before, Jameer Nelson made an incredibly craft play, taking a kickout pass and backpedaling to get behind the 3-point line before tying the game with a 3-pointer.
With a 68-66 lead late in the third quarter, it seemed like the spunky Magic would be in it to the end to test the Heat and potentially end that 26-game win streak.
The buzz was building though. And the swarm was coming.
The Heat are championship contenders and the Magic are the second worst team in the league by record.
LeBron James brought the haymaker on the next play, taking the ball on the break with a full head of steam. His dunk was much more emphatic than Moore's, and so was the way the Heat put the Magic away. With Orlando leading 68-66, James took over in a much more visible way than he had before.
James put down an emphatic one-handed jam and the run was on. It became one James drive to the basket and then another. Then a turnovers turned into a fast break alley-oop over Beno Udrih. Then a LeBron alley oop to Chris Andersen.
All told, it was a 20-2 run that spanned the third and fourth quarters that turned the game around and turned a strong, focused, desperate effort from the Magic into a blowout and a coronation yet again of the Heat. Miami won 108-94 behind James' masterful (and sometimes eerily quiet) 24-point, 9-rebound and 11-assist effort.
Orlando put James into pass-mode with an effort to double team him and overload the strong side. The Heat though were able to move the ball quickly and find 3-point shooters. The Heat had the right wrinkle in freeing them up with a flare screen on the weakside defender.
Miami hit corner 3 after corner 3, sometimes from the play sometimes from Orlando just missing an assignment. the Heat were 15 of 28 from beyond the arc, with Rashard Lewis scoring 11 points on three 3-pointers in the second quarter and Mario Chalmers scoring 17 points on 4-for-5 shooting from beyond the arc.
The virtual zone defense had moments where it simply did not work.
The Heat dialed in offensively when they needed to and it seemed like their scoring came in bursts. The Magic kept things close in the first quarter, keeping the score tied at 28. They even took a six-point lead. Orlando was certainly game. But MIami went on a 10-0 run to take the lead in the second quarter and seemed in control the rest of the way.
Orlando's offense struggled through against the tough Miami defense.
Maurice Harkless found himself cut off as he tried to drive baseline, showing that he still has work to do to improve. Good thing he is just 19. Tobias Harris had 20 points and Jameer Nelson took over the game at various points with 27 points, hitting 5 of 10 3-pointers.
Orlando was more than game. The Magic played with energy and continued to fight. They continued to try and move the ball and protected the ball decently well.
That Heat avalanche though was coming. And the Magic could not stop it.
You could see the heads begin to droop as Miami built its lead. the fight was being squeezed out of the mastery the Heat were displaying in that fourth quarter. Orlando could give its best effort and not win this game. Not this shorthanded — Arron Afflalo missed his first game, Nikola Vucevic missed his second straight with a concussion and Andrew Nicholson sprained his ankle in the first quarter.
Jacque Vaughn called a timeout when things were at their worst. The team composed itself some and played even the rest of the way. That was about all the Magic could ask for.
Paul Kennedy of Fox Sports Florida described it correctly after the game, Orlando playing out of its weight class in this one. Against another team, the Magic might have had a much more encouraging result. Not this team, not with the Heat this dialed in. Not with LeBron James able to take over a game's scoring and dominate it in every way in a flash.