HHH GameTime Preview: Heat Vs. Magic

Rob Foldy-USA TODAY Sports

In tonight's matchup, the HEAT and the Magic close out this seasons series with a matchup in Miami. Can Orlando salvage one or will the HEAT earn the sweep? Can the NBA make LeBron stop wearing his black mask? Read on for the details.

The HEAT look to complete a season sweep of the Magic tonight at the AAA. This is the fourth meeting this season between the two clubs. Miami won the first game, 120-92 in Orlando on November 20th, the second 101-99 in Miami three days later, and the third matchup 110-94 in Orlando on January 4th. This is the third game of a four game home stand for the HEAT. They started off by defeating the Chicago Bulls 93-79 on Sunday and continued with a 108-82 demolition of the New York Knicks on Thursday night. The Magic are closing up a four game road trip. First, they lost to the Toronto Raptors 105-90 on Sunday and the Washington Wizards 115-106 on Tuesday. They defeated the Philadelphia 76ers 101-90 on Wednesday.

A Look Back

The last time Miami faced off with Orlando was on January 4th. Miami rode Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade for 20 points and six boards each while Rashard Lewis pitched in 18 with three steals as Miami earned a 110-94 win on the road. Jameer Nelson led the Magic with 21 points, six assists and five rebounds. * Box Score Full Recap

NBA CIRCLE - Miami Heat Vs Orlando Magic Highlights 4 Jan. 2014 www.nbacircle.com (via NBACIRCLETODAY)

LeBron James, who scored 15 points on five-of-13 shooting, spoke later:

Tonight was one of those games where I didn't have too much pressure to score. I just tried to get my guys the ball, tried to get some rebounds and make a couple timely shots in the fourth quarter that kind of upped the lead.

Orlando Pinstriped Post has more on the Magic.

Miami's last game would see the Knicks hang close for the first half, but lose any shot at unseating the champs with a 14 point third quarter performance. Miami scored 32. LeBron James, wearing a full-face mask to protect his recently broken nose, scored a game best 31 points on 13-of-19 shooting. Dwyane Wade had 23, and Mario Chalmers, Norris Cole, and Ray Allen had 11 points each in the win. The Knicks were led by Carmelo Anthony's 29 point game, although he went scoreless for the final 21 minutes. Tyson Chandler had 19 points with 16 boards. * Box ScoreFull Recap

Knicks Vs Heat - Game Recap - (LeBron Dons A Super Hero Kind of Mask) - (27-2-14) (via FunkyAxel111)

Erik Spoelstra mentioned James' mask later:

I like the look of it. It looked kind of menacing. As long as he was aggressive, that was the big key.

For everything Knicks, hit up Posting and Toasting.

In Orlando's last game, the Magic earned a victory in Philadelphia, 101-90. Nikolas Vukevic led the way with 21 points and 13 boards, Victor Olapido had 17 points and 11 rebounds, and Jameer Nelson had 16 points, a dozen assists and six rebounds. The Sixers were paced by 19 from Thaddeus Young, 15 from Tony Wroten, and 13 by Eric Maynor. * Box ScoreFull Recap

Orlando Magic vs Philadelphia Sixers | February 26, 2014 | Full Game Highlights | NBA 2013-2014 (via NBAshowtimeHD8)

Tonight

Game Time: 7:30 PM EST

Season Series: Miami leads 3-0

All-Time Series: Going into tonight's game, the 99th between the in-state rivals, Miami owns a 54-44 advantage in head-to-head action.

Standings

HEAT: 41-14, .745, on pace for a 61-21 season. First in the Southeast Division, Second in the Eastern Conference, Third in the NBA. Last Five: W-W-W-W-W, Playoff Odds: 99.9999997%

Magic: 18-42, .300, on pace for a 25-57 season. Fifth in the Southeast Division, 13th in the Eastern Conference, 28th in the NBA. Last Five: L-W-L-L-W, Playoff Odds: 0.01%

Common Thread

Rashard Lewis played in 257 regular season Magic games over parts of four seasons. He averaged 16.3 points, 5.1 rebounds, and 2.1 assists while appearing in 35.5 minutes per game.

Starting Lineups

HEAT

PG - Mario Chalmers

PF - Shane Battier

C - Chris Bosh

SF - LeBron James

SG - Dwyane Wade

Magic

PG - Jameer Nelson

PF - Tobias Harris

C - Nikola Vukevic

SF - Maurice Harkless

SG - Victor Olapido

Maurice Harkless will get Arron Afflalo's minutes tonight, as Afflalo didn't make the trip. He is suffering from a sprained right ankle and is feeling "under the weather."

In a recent development, the NBA is trying to get LeBron to stop wearing his black mask in favor of the clear one that has given children (and adults) nightmares across the last few seasons. More here.

Keep it dialed in right here as the game approaches for any developments, including scratches, interviews, and trade rumors. Check back later for the game thread and the recap. Hot Hot Hoops always has your HEAT.

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