Orlando Magic @ Miami Heat


The Orlando Magic will look to stay hot when they take on the Miami Heat on Thursday night. Orlando’s 110-84 victory over the San Antonio Spurs on Wednesday was their ninth win in their last 10 games. Th Heat, before losing to the Spurs on Tuesday night, had won three in a row and six out of seven, so both teams come into the game playing well.

These two teams have already met three times this season. The Heat took the first two meetings before the Magic got a win over the Heat on February 28th.

Basketball Stats

The 35-33 Heat are currently half-game behind the Charlotte Bobcats for the sixth seed. With the 48-21 Magic having the second best record in the Eastern Conference, if the playoffs started today, these two teams would be matched up with each other. The Heat are 20-15 on the home court and the Magic are 20-14 on the road.

Tip-off from American Airlines Arena in Miami is scheduled for 7:00 pm EST and the game will be shown locally by FSN Florida and nationally by TNT. As always, if you can’t watch the game, you can listen to it locally on WDBO AM 580 and in Spanish on WONQ AM 1030.

The Line: Orlando – 2


Orlando Magic

Dwight Howard
Rashard Lewis
Matt Barnes
Vince Carter
Jameer Nelson

Miami Heat

Jermaine O’Neal
Michael Beasley
Quentin Richardson
Dwyane Wade
Carlos Arroyo

The Heat won the first meeting between these two squads this season when Michael Beasley got a put-back dunk with 1.6 seconds remaing, giving the Heat a 99-98 win in Amway Arena back on November 25th.

On December 17th in Miami, the Heat dominated from the get-go and beat the Magic 104-86. That game was also an 8:00 pm EST start time on TNT.

The Magic finally defeated the Heat in Amway on February 28th. Orlando dominated the second half in route to a 96-80 victory.

Offensively, the Heat score 96.2 points per game and are just 20th in offensive rating (105.9).

The Heat are led by one of the NBA’s elite players, Dwyane Wade. Wade is putting together another fantastic season. He’s averaging 26.5 points per game on 46.6% shooting, 6.5 assists per game ad 4.6 rebounds per game. Wade also ranks second in John Hollinger’s PER with a PER of 27.74 (behind Cleveland’s LeBron James). Wade has traditionally played his best basketball against the Magic, averaging 29.6 points, 6.4 assists and 5.2 rebounds per game in his career against the Magic. He scores more and shoots better (52.6%) against the Magic than against any other team in the league, although this season he is averaging just 23.3 points per game on 39.3% shooting against the Magic.

The Heat are one of the slowest paced teams in the league, ranking 28th in that category (90.3).

The Heat are a much better defensive team. They give up just 95.1 points per game and rank 9th in defensive rating (104.7).

Magic Center Dwight Howard has struggled against Miami this season. He’s scoring just 12.0 points per game on 43.5% shooting. Howard is averaging 18.6 points per game on 61.2% shooting on the season. Howard has been plagued by foul trouble against the Heat, picking up 13 fouls in the three meetings, which has limited Howard’s minutes. His rebounding (11.7 per game against the Heat) is also down.

Coincidently, both Howard and Wade’s worst games in this series this season have resulted in wins for their teams.

Howard scored just 7 points on 1-of-7 shooting and grabbed only 5 rebounds in only 25 minutes because of foul trouble in Orlando’s February victory.

Despite Howard’s struggles against the Heat this season, there is no Miami player that can match up with Howard and he should be able to have his way down low.

Orlando will be playing on the second night of a back-to-back so this should be a good challenge for the Magic.

(Andrew Melnick is Howard the Dunk’s lead blogger and a contributor at NFL Mocks Subscribe to his RSS feed, add him on Twitter to follow him daily and you can get the HTD app here).