Game #15: Miami Heat (8-6) vs. Orlando Magic (9-4)

If there was ever an opportunity for a bounce back game, this is it.  A most disappointing and embarrassing home loss to Indiana has gotten every Heat-doubter in the world all riled up and all the nay-sayers naying their heads off.  Unfortunately, even with the signing of free agent center Erik Dampier, the news continues to come back gloomy for the Heat.

According to the Sun-Sentinel there is a chance that Udonis Haslem may in fact be done for the year.  The ligament that Haslem tore, the Lisfranc ligament, is the most significant one in his foot and requires the most healing time.  None of this is confirmed, just speculation, but it still sucks.

Getting back to the task at hand, Erik Spoelstra's crew is going to have their hands extra full tonight.  Not just because they are playing against division rival and perennial Eastern Conference powerhouse Orlando, but they are also playing against pissed off from getting their butts kicked in Miami back in October Orlando.  But hey...the Heat were pissed about losing to the Celtics and looked to beat them at home, but didn't, so hopefully they can pull off the same maneuver against the Magic

In their first game, Miami did a great job of getting Dwight Howard into foul trouble in the 2nd half which was a big part of why they played so well.  It will definitely be something to watch when Erik Dampier comes into the game.  I hope people don't jump all over him if he doesn't look that good against Howard because not many centers do look good against him.  I'll be more concerned with his rebounding and how he fits in, if at all (yet) with the offense. 

GAME NOTES

  • The Heat used a 14-0 run right out of halftime to beat the Magic the first time they played each other this season. 
  • Even after that game, Orlando has still gone 14-4 in their last 18 against the Heat.  They have beat the Heat 7 of the last 8 times they played in Orlando, though none of those games were in the new Amway Center. 
  • Miami is looking to avoid their first 3-game losing streak of the season.  Last season they lost 3 or more in a row four times, with the longest skid of the season being a 5-game string.  
  • The Heat's injury report is going to look the same for a while, with Mike Miller (thumb) and Udonis Haslem (foot) both out. 
  • As for the Magic, Vince Carter is questionable with a knee injury. 
  • There are three former Heat players on Orlando's roster.  Quentin Richardson, Jason Williams and Malik Allen, though Allen as played just four minutes all season.
  • Interesting stat I just caught on ESPN...the Heat are 0-6 when LeBron James plays 40+ minutes.

Tipoff from O-Town is set for 7:30.  The game will be broadcast locally on Sun Sports and nationally on ESPN. 

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