Orlando Magic at Miami Heat (February 6, 2024): 3 Things To Watch, Odds and Prediction

The Orlando Magic wrap up a five-game road trip with a big game with standings implications in Miami against the Miami Heat. The Magic have a chance to cement their place in the Eastern Conference standings with a victory.
The Orlando Magic and Miami Heat finish their season series with a lot of playoff implications on the line.
The Orlando Magic and Miami Heat finish their season series with a lot of playoff implications on the line. / Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports

27-23. Bally Sports Florida, Bally Sports Sun. Magic Heat Matchup 02.06.24. 26-24. 110. 7:30P. 38. Feb. 6, 2024. Heat by 2.5 (O/U 212.5)

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Season Series:
Heat 115, Magic 106 in Orlando on Dec. 20; Heat 99, Magic 96 in Miami on Jan. 12; Magic 105, Heat 87 in Orlando on Jan. 21; Tonight in Miami


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OMD Prediction

Our Record: 31-19/27-23 ATS

The Orlando Magic and Miami Heat have been on diverging paths since they met at Kia Center two weeks ago. The Magic that evening got Franz Wagner back from injury, and everything seemed to click. The Heat were in the early stages of their seven-game losing streak, the longest they have faced in several years.

On the other hand, the Magic have won five of eight games, including that win over the Heat. Three of those wins have come lately. But the Magic have turned things around defensively with only two poor efforts on that end. The Magic are rounding to form.

Health has a lot to do with that. And the Heat have dealt with their own injury issues.

But they are relatively healthy for this critical game -- Duncan Robinson is QUESTIONABLE in concussion protocol, and Tyler Herro is PROBABLE dealing with migraine headaches. But the Heat have been off for a while, with their offense taking a nosedive.

Something is going to break. It is the Heat, after all. And the Magic are at the end of a long five-game road trip. That is usually not a recipe for success.

Then again, games do not come much bigger than this one with the standings implications and the natural rivalry between the teams. Expect an entertaining, if not gritty and defensive-minded, battle.

103. 110. Prediction. 108. 38. Magic Heat Prediction 02.06.24

3 Keys to Watch

Defensive Grit

Both the Orlando Magic and Miami Heat love defensive battles.

Their 99-96 game at Miami a few weeks ago was a rare game when both teams scored fewer than 100 points. And the Magic seem to relish these games. Even some of their bigger games see them defend at a high level.

Granting a pair of outlier games against the Cleveland Cavaliers and Dallas Mavericks, the Orlando Magic's defense has been on a tear lately. The Magic have given up fewer than 100 points in six of the last 10 games (dating back to that previous game against the Heat).

Orlando had a 112.6 defensive rating in the last 10 games (worse than the team's 111.4 defensive rating). But there are two big outlier games with two of the Magic's worst defensive games of the season. You cannot throw those out. But the Heat are not nearly as potent offensively as either of those teams.

Orlando has built itself on its defense. And now that they -- and maybe more importantly, Jonathan Isaac -- are healthy, the Magic are returning to their top defensive marks.

The Heat's Struggles

So what is going on with the Miami Heat?

They are still a team that nobody wants to face, and everyone has faith they will be dangerous in a playoff setting (the prospect of a 7/8 Sunshine Showdown in the Play-In Tournament is a bit spooky for a young Orlando Magic team), but something feels off.

The Heat might still be looking at the bigger prize and are more concerned with their record against the elite teams in the league, but the Heat have been struggling overall.

In their last 10 games, Miami has the second-worst offensive rating in the league, scoring only 107.8 points per 100 possessions. Their defense has slipped to 118.8 points per 100 possessions. That net rating of -11.0 points per 100 possessions is what you would expect from a tanking team.

The Miami Heat are coming out of it some with a pair of wins before Sunday's loss against the LA Clippers.

But the Terry Rozier trade has not taken hold -- 11.7 points per game and 5.4 assists per game on 32.9 percent shooting since joining the Heat. And everything feels off with the Heat, even if it is just injuries and a bad mid-season swoon.

Go Big, Go Home

The Orlando Magic have their own "death lineup" now. Everyone in Magic circles is talking about it. Zach Lowe of ESPN.com was ahead on it with Jonathan Isaac starting to return to form. The Magic are showing versatility and creativity with how they deploy and use him.

That has meant putting Jonathan Isaac in at the end of games with Jalen Suggs, Franz Wagner, Paolo Banchero and Wendell Carter. And it has had devastating effects.

The Magic's "death lineup" has played 22 minutes across six games together this season with an offensive/defensive rating split of 114.3/97.9. Since Isaac's return to the lineup, that group has played 18 minutes with a split of 117.9/71.1.

It is not a large enough sample size to make too many conclusions. But the eye test suggests it is devastating defensively.

Next. Trade Value Column 02.06.24. Orlando Magic Trade Value Column: From Sellers to Buyers. dark

And that might be the point of it all. Orlando can just shut down teams. And certainly, the Magic will trust using Wendell Carter or Jonathan Isaac on Bam Adebayo late in games than Moe Wagner, who they had to use in the last trip to Miami when Adebayo hit the go-ahead basket late.