It's been a while, but the Miami Heat finally get to play a game in front of their home crowd on Sunday afternoon when they welcome cross-state rival Orlando to the AAA. The Heat are fresh off a grueling 6-game road trip that began with a loss in Orlando and ended with five consecutive victories after that, including the leagues first back-to-back-to-back road wins in over 30 years.
The Heat are certainly playing some of their best basketball of the season, and a game against Orlando will be a great test to see how far they have come. In Miami's last loss, which came to the Magic, Orlando hit an amazing 17 three-pointers on a team-record 42 attempts. Guarding the 3 is something that has troubled the Heat this season so this game will be a good test for them.
The Heat are coming off of a strong 3-point shooing game of their own, as they hit a season-best 14-of-21 from downtown in a win over the Cleveland Cavaliers. As helpful as it can be when you hit shots from downtown, I think the key to victory for Miami will be shutting down Orlando's long-range shooting. The Magic are 11-0 this season when hitting 12 or more triples, and they are also 15-1 when shooting at least 40% from beyond the arc.
It's been almost two full weeks since the Heat played a home game, though you couldn't tell judging by the standings. Since a win over Cleveland on February 7th, the Heat hit the road and won 5 of their 6 games. That run has pushed them past the Chicago Bulls for first place in the Eastern Conference after the Bulls lost at home to the New Jersey Nets on Saturday afternoon.
- The Heat are 12-2 at home. Orlando is 8-5 on the road.
- The Magic are in second place in the Southeast Division, trailing Miami by 4 games.
- This is just the second of four meetings between the division rivals, with Orlando winning the only game so far.
- The Heat has lost 5 of the last 7 meetings between them and the Magic.
- Orlando has won at least one game in Miami in three straight seasons.
- Miami comes in winners of 16 of their last 19 games.
- The Magic comes in having won 8 of their last 10.
- Miami lists center Dexter Pittman (shoulder) as questionable.
- As for Orlando, they have an empty injured list.
Tipoff from the AAA is set for 330pm. The game will be broadcast nationally on ABC.