Game #32: Orlando Magic (20-11) vs. Miami Heat (24-7)

The leagues hottest coach and the Heat's hottest player are ready to return to their home fans.

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.

GAME NOTES

  • 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.

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