Orlando Magic vs. Miami Heat (March 14, 2021): 3 Things To Watch, Odds and Prediction

The Orlando Magic shored up their point guard depth in keeping Michael Carter-Williams. Mandatory Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports
The Orlando Magic shored up their point guard depth in keeping Michael Carter-Williams. Mandatory Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports /

The Orlando Magic will be without Aaron Gordon and Evan Fournier once again as they try to find their footing at home this time against the Miami Heat.

Orlando Magic (13-25) at Miami Heat (20-18)


7 p.m./FOX Sports Florida




$33-$1,395 on StubHub

2021 Season Series:

Magic 113, Heat 107

Heat 111, Magic 103

in Orlando on Dec. 23; in Miami on March 11; Tonight in Orlando

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OMD Prediction

To put it simply, things are not going to get better until the Orlando Magic get healthy. The upcoming practice time before Thursday’s game against the New York Knicks will help stabilize the team and allow them to work on finding a way to play. But right now, there is very little the Magic can seemingly do to generate offense consistently. Nikola Vucevic is literally doing everything he can to keep this team afloat. But nobody can survive constant double- and triple-teams.

The Orlando Magic, in other words, are in no condition to take on a team with supreme confidence like the Miami Heat winners of nine of their last 10. The Magic threw their best punch at the Heat in Thursday’s loss. But the same forces that gave the team a chance eventually knocked them down too. The Magic had to play closer to perfect for a chance to win.  And they committed too many fouls and turnovers to get there. It does not take much to push this Magic team off the edge, despite their best efforts.

110. 95. 38. Prediction. 108

3 Keys To Watch

Improved Defense

For the Orlando Magic to have any chance to win, their defense is going to have to be on point. This has always been the foundation for the team at every turn and it is the only way the team is going to succeed in any shape or form. The good news is the Magic have actually been making strides on that end. And their two games after the All-Star Break have been decent defensively.

The Orlando Magic gave up 112.1 points per 100 possessions in the loss to the Miami Heat and an even better mark of 108.3 points per 100 possessions in the loss to the San Antonio Spurs on Friday. The Magic’s defense when it could get set is doing a decent job getting stops. Those numbers would be much lower if not for the turnovers the Magic committed in both games, both of which tended to lead directly to points.

Yes, the Magic’s biggest problem and the biggest impediment to their defense is their offense.

4th Quarter

In the fourth quarter of Thursday’s loss to the Miami Heat, the Orlando Magic lost contact with the lead. It did not take much to do so. The Heat buckled up defensively and the Magic’s offense went silent for six minutes. That gave Miami the cushion to take a 10-2 run and take control of the game. Jimmy Butler did whatever he wanted and hit big shot after big shot to put the Magic at bay. The Miami Heat got a similar effort in their win Friday over the Chicago Bulls as Goran Dragic scored 20 points to break a similarly close game.

Miami ranks 18th in the league with a -2.4 net rating in the fourth quarter. But during their run of eight wins in nine games, the Heat rank fourth in the league with a +14.6 net rating. Miami is winning games late.

The Magic are obviously not. For the season, the team has a -4.1 net rating in the fourth quarter, 23rd in the league. And they obviously lost Friday’s game in the fourth quarter, allowing a relatively close game to turn into an absolute rout. The minutes Nikola Vucevic is off the floor are always a danger for this team.

Hope for a boost

The Orlando Magic have to be focused on finding their way to score. The defense will seemingly take care of itself (it will have to clean up the fouling from Thursday’s game). But without much offensive punch, the team just cannot keep scores low enough to give themselves a chance. Orlando needs a more dynamic offensive attack, which is asking a lot with the players Orlando has out.

dark. Next. Orlando Magic's only way to develop is to compete and try to win

The Magic have already ruled out Evan Fournier and Aaron Gordon. As of Sunday morning, Terrence Ross was listed as questionable. Even Ross’ presence would be a huge boost to the team just to give another player defenses have to think about. the Heat on Thursday essentially doubled Nikola Vucevic even off the ball and dared someone else to beat them.