Matchup Preview: Orlando Magic vs Miami Heat


Over the next month, we’ll be talking with a variety of people who cover each NBA team to find out a little bit about their team, and how they expect the season to go. We’ll also find out what they believe will be the most intriguing matchup when the two team’s meet during the regular season. We move to the Southeastern Division with a look at the in-state rival Miami Heat. David Ramil of All U Can Heat joins us to discuss the team down south. David can be found on twitter @dramil13

Game Dates 

Saturday, November 22nd @ Orlando 

Monday, December 29th @ Miami

Wednesday, February 25th @ Orlando 

Monday, April 13th @ Miami 

Last Season: 54-28; Finished Second in Eastern Conference; Lost in NBA Finals to San Antonio Spurs 

November 20th: Magic 92 Miami 120 

November 23rd: Miami 101 Orlando 99 

January 4th: Orlando 94 Miami 110 

March 1st: Miami 112 Orlando 98 

Projected Starters 

Point Guard: Mario Chalmers 

Shooting Guard: Dwyane Wade 

Small Forward: Luol Deng 

Power Forward: Josh McRoberts 

Center: Chris Bosh 

Jun 12, 2014; Miami, FL, USA; Miami Heat center Chris Bosh warms up prior to game four of the 2014 NBA Finals against the San Antonio Spurs at American Airlines Arena. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Q: Life after LeBron starts now. Which player(s) step up the most to make up for his lost production?

A: The reality is that because James is able to do so much and is such a ball-dominant player, his production has to be shared by a number of players. Mario Chalmers will have to bring the ball down more. Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh will have to take over the bulk of the scoring drop-off and a shared leadership role. Luol Deng can provide perimeter defense and Josh McRoberts will have to facilitate the offense with his passing. It’s a group responsibility, part of which makes this season so exciting to anticipate.

Mar 30, 2014; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Cavaliers forward Luol Deng (9) runs during a game against the Indiana Pacers at Quicken Loans Arena. Cleveland won 90-76. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

Q: Which of the Heat’s offseason acquisitions — Josh McRoberts, Luol Deng and Danny Granger — have the biggest impact this season? 

I’d have to say it’s Deng, whose been kind of stuck in LeBron’s shadow since high school. He’s the player who can do the most to help ease the transition and he’ll do the little things (tight defense, solid scoring, all-out effort) that fans can appreciate and helps win games. But the other two should be factors as well. If McRoberts can continue his growth from Charlotte (hell, if he can just be as good as last year it would be fine) and if Granger stays healthy and provides a boost off the bench, then they’ll have earned their place in Miami.

Q: What’s one matchup you’ll be watch when the Magic and Heat meet this season?

More from Games

A: Can I cheat and mention two? The Oladipo-Wade comparison has always interested me and I think it’s a valid one. It’s hard to think of Wade’s current health issues and remember that he was once as athletic and explosive as Oladipo. But seeing these two match up should be a barometer for both players; measuring how much Wade has degraded while seeing how Oladipo has progressed.

Other than that, Ben Gordon has always been a Heat-killer. Throughout his career, he just seems to have big games against Miami. I suppose he won’t be much of a factor this  year but, should he play and contribute, he could light us up for a quick burst.

Q: What kind of expectations should this Heat team have? How far do you realistically think they can go in the Eastern Conference playoffs?

A: That is the million-dollar question. If healthy, this team could be deep and very, very good. Erik Spoelstra is going to light a fire under everybody, knowing they have something to prove with James gone. I also think opponents will sleep on them, perceiving them as weaker without LeBron. And the South Beach factor is always good for 5-6 extra wins a season, too. I expect around 48-50 wins and a 4th-seed in the East. They could match up with Cleveland in the semi-finals and, given Miami’s postseason experience as well as the revenge-factor, they could slip past the Cavs and make every scorned Heat fan’s dreams come true. I expect them to make it at least to the semis, and if everything plays out perfectly, perhaps advancing to the ECF.