Miami Heat @ Orlando Magic


After a heartbreaking loss to the Los Angeles Clippers Monday night, the Magic will return to the hardwood Wednesday when they take on the Miami Heat. The Magic enter the game with a record of 15-10 while the Heat, who defeated the Cleveland Cavaliers Tuesday, are 19-6 and lead the Magic by four games in the Southeast division.

The Magic rank 16th in offensive rating (102.7), 12th in defensive rating (101.7) and play at the league’s six-slowest pace (89.4). The Heat are second in offensive rating (108.4), ninth in defensive rating (100.0) and play at the league’s third-fastest pace (93.4).

Tip-off from Amway Center is scheduled for 7:00 pm EST and will be shown locally on Sun Sports.

As always, if you can’t watch the game, you can listen on the radio – in English on AM 580 WDBO and FM 96.5  and in Spanish on AM 1270 WRLZ.

The officials for tonight’s game are Ron Garretson, Matt Boland and Olandis Poole.

The Line:  Miami – 3.5 (191.5)


Miami Heat

Joel Anthony
Chris Bosh
LeBron James
Dwyane Wade
Mario Chalmers Norris Cole*

Orlando Magic

Dwight Howard
Ryan Anderson
Hedo Turkoglu
Jason Richardson
Jameer Nelson

*Mario Chalmers is out with a left hand sprain.

What can you say about the Miami Heat? You can make a very good argument they have the two of the best players in the league in Dwyane Wade and LeBron James. Wade, who has been banged up this season, is still putting up 21.3 points, 5.3 assists and 4.2 rebounds per game.

James has easily been the best player in the NBA this season and looks like he is playing the best basketball of his career. He’s averaging 29.0 points, 8.3 rebounds and 7.0 assists per game while posting an effective field goal percentage of 57.1% and a true shooting percentage of 62.3%.

Hedo Turkoglu will start out on James while Jason Richardson will draw Wade. J.J. Redick, Quentin Richardson, and Earl Clark should also get a shot to slow the league’s best duo. The best the Magic can do is use their wings to really make James and Wade work on the defensive end.

That won’t be the only big advantage Miami will have. Ryan Anderson has been excellent on offense and Glen Davis has played well on defense, but slowing Chris Bosh is going to be a big challenge. Bosh is having a bounce-back season in year two with the Heat. He’s averaging 19.5 points while posting an eFG% of 52.1% and a TS% of 57.7%. Bosh has been more involved in the offense and looking a lot more like the All-Star we saw in Toronto.

The Magic used to have a nice advantage over the Heat at point guard but with the way Mario Chalmers is shooting (11.4 ppg on 63.3% eFG, 65.85% TS%) and the addition of rookie Norris Cole (8.2 ppg) combined with the disappointing performances of Orlando’s point guards, that may not be true any more and the Magic really need to win this battle to play with the Heat. They’ll need to see the aggressive Jameer Nelson that showed up in Monday’s loss to the Clippers (15 points, 12 assists).

The Heat also have rebuilt their bench and mostly play a nine man rotation with Cole, Mike Miller (7.2 ppg),  Udonis Haslem (6.5 ppg, 8.2 rpg) and Shane Battier (3.5 ppg) making up the second unit. James Jones (3.9 ppg) has not played in the last four games games and hasn’t seen more than four minutes of action since January 24.

The Magic do, of course, have one huge advantage. Although the Heat have experimented with Dexter Pittman and Eddy Curry, Joel Anthony is the only Heat center who gets consistent minutes. Anthony and the Heat power forwards should be no match for Howard.

Heat Resources:

All U Can Heat
Heat Index
Hot Hot Hoops
Miami Herald
Peninsula is Mightier
The Sun-Sentinel

(Andrew Melnick is Howard the Dunk’s lead blogger, ESPN Florida’s Magic Insider ( and is the co-host of the Insiders Show Sunday mornings at 10:00 am EST. Subscribe to his RSS feed, add him on Facebook and follow him onTwitter to follow him daily. You can download the HTD app here)