After a rough few weeks, the Miami Heat are starting to regain the form that saw them win 21 out of 22 games in December and early January. Winners of three straight, the Heat will head north for a division matchup against cross-state rival Orlando. The last time these teams played each other was in late November and Miami is going to see a much different Magic team then they remember.
Orlando has since added Gilbert Arenas, Hedo Turkoglu and Jason Richardson while getting rid of Rashard Lewis, Vince Carter and Mickael Pietrus in a pair of trades that took place in mid-December. As we Heat fans are well aware, it takes some time for new teammates to develop chemistry, especially in Orlando's case when so many key players are replaced.
When these teams last met, the Magic got the victory and left with a 10-4 record while Miami was dropped to 8-7. The Heat has since leapfrogged over Orlando in the standings, now holding a 3½ game lead. While the Magic is still adjusting to a very different starting lineup (only Dwight Howard and Jameer Nelson remain from the last Heat-Magic meeting), one thing remains the same. This is still a team that lives and dies by the 3.
Orlando leads the NBA in 3-point attempts per game (25.6) but makes them 36.8% of the time, good for 10th in the league. Unfortunately for Stan Van Gundy's crew, they have hit a bit of a rough patch from downtown over the last week. In their last three games the Magic have made just 26.1% of their treys while putting up 28.0 per game. They came out of those 3 games with a 1-2 record, with the only win coming against the lowly Cavaliers.
- If you were wondering about the Heat's downtown stats, they are tied for 7th in the league in 3-point percentage (37.9%) and just 15th in attempts (18.2).
- Orlando has won 15 of the last 19 games against the Heat, though the teams have split their last 6 meetings.
- The Heat has lost 9 of their last 11 games in Orlando.
- Miami has won 3 straight games and 4 of their last 5 overall.
- The Magic has gone 6-6 in their last 12 games.
- Udonis Haslem (foot) remains out for the Heat.
- On Orlando's injury list, J.J. Reddick (shoulder) is questionable while Brandon Bass (ankle) and Daniel Orton (knee) are out.
Tipoff from the Amway Center is set for 8 o'clock. The game will be nationally televised on TNT so those of you outside of South Florida can enjoy what should be a pretty good game. If you live in town and want to watch the game with other Heat fans, the team is having a ‘road rally' at the Miccosukee Casino, 500 SW 177th Ave.