Robert Mayer/USA TODAY
The Magic expectedly lost to the Miami Heat on Saturday night at American Airlines Arena. The Heat offense put it on the Magic and the Magic did their best to keep up. Unfortunately, Miami is Miami and few teams can keep up with them offensively. Certainly not Orlando and not without Arron Afflalo.
So this game went as expected, it seemed.
Miami scored 32 points, 29 points and 28 points in the first three quarters. That is simply not going to be a winning recipe for Orlando against a team of this caliber. Maybe for a quarter — that is what the Magic did.
The Heat doubled their lead in the third quarter to 16 points and that was all the Magic could write home about in this game.
Heat's offense is really good
More offensive numbers for the Heat.
Miami shot 58.1 percent from the floor and made six of 16 3-pointers. LeBron James scored 20 points, nine rebounds, seven assists and four steals. He was LeBron, in other words. Chris Bosh had 17 points on eight field goal attempts. And Dwyane Wade killed the Magic as usual with 24 points.
The Heat's bench was balanced to give them the rest of the offense they needed.
Miami is simply too good a team to make mistakes against and the offense is going to be efficient anyway. Miami turned 13 Orlando turnovers into 17 points. A pretty solid conversion rate.
When the Heat are dialed in like they were tonight, a team like the Magic will have a tough time keeping up. Better luck next time.
The Magic will try
So the Magic's defense was not doing much of the work it needed to do in this game to give them a chance. Once again, Orlando continues to show some progress offensively and continue to play to the final whistle — even if the effort is eventually futile.
Six Magic players scored in double figures led by Tobias Harris and his 20 points. Most impressively, he got to the line for seven free throws and made them all. Harris is notably trying to find himself a role with this team and performances like this will continue to cement himself in this team's future. Harris is really talented and can put up some strong numbers, no doubt.
Nikola Vucevic added 18 points and 10 rebounds, fighting off foul trouble for his daily double double. Kyle O'Quinn and Maurice Harkless each had 14 points and Victor Oladipo and E'Twaun Moore each had 10 points. Jameer Nelson recorded 11 assists. O'Quinn also had 15 rebounds playing in Vucevic's relief early on.
Efficiency is the main problem for the young Magic squad. Again, the Heat team can focus in and make life difficult for a young squad like the Magic. That appears to be what happened as Orlando ended up shooting 43.4 percent for the game.
A small team like the Heat would seem to be a golden opportunity for Nicholson. Really, this whole stretch since Glen Davis was let go is Nicholson's chance for playing time. So far, it is difficult to feel very confident in the second-year power forward.
Tonight, Nicholson played nearly 20 minutes, his most Jan. 2 against Cleveland (he also played 19 minutes against Philadelphia on Wednesday). His final stat line? Four points, two rebounds, 1-for-6 shooting. This is not the highly efficient low-post threat Magic fans saw last year.
Everyone wanted him to get his chance this year and now he is getting it and seemingly struggling with it.
It is hard to tell if confidence is the issue, fit within the offense or simply the panic of not knowing when his next minutes will come. Either way, Nicholson has to perform better to have a future with this organization. He is under contract next year as a first round pick, but the Magic will have to use the next month and a half to determine whether to pick up that last year of his deal.