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Game Preview: Heat vs. Magic

Hello All, Just got back from the Redneck Riviera, where I met up with my brother for a few days, and I must say, it is nice to be back in a city where the people at least average a full set of teeth. Oh, wait, this is Gainesville. I take that back (bad um cha). I did stay in a condo with a couple of kids from Chapel Hill though, which was fun while UNC was playing during the weekend in the ACC Tournament. Oh, that’s right, they didn’t make it to the weekend. Because they went 16-16. I almost forgot. Tomorrow night, the Heat (35-33) hosts the Orlando Reddicks (47-21). Both teams are playing some of their basketball; the Heat has won 6 of 8, while the Magic has won 7 of 8 in March. The Magic won the February 28th meeting in Miami 96-80. SIDENOTE: The Magic has a starter named Vince Carter, who attended a little school in North Carolina called North Carolina. They wear powder blue uniforms and are the basketball equivalent of the Florida Gators…that is, I hate them. They just put up one of the worst title defenses in the history of college basketball, finishing the season at .500 and missing out on the Big Dance. Luckily for the Magic, they offset their ridiculous choice of alumni to start at shooting guard by bringing J.J. Reddick off of the bench. He went to a real basketball school, Duke. And for the record, I rooted for my alma mater, Miami, when they made a surprise run to the ACC semifinal and met up with the basketball team I was born and bred on, Duke. But now that Miami’s run is over and order is restored, I can go back to the black and white days of old: loving the Devils and hating the Heels. And since this is the eve of March Madness and I will pretty much stop caring about the NBA for the next three weeks, I figured I might as well take the opportunity to get in as many potshots on the Heels as I can. PROBABLE STARTERS Heat Magic PG Arroyo J. Nelson SG Wade V. Carter SF Richardson M. Barnes PF Beasley R. Lewis C O’Neal D. Howard STATISTICAL BREAKDWON (Stats from statsheet.com; 3/17/10) Effective Field Goal % The Heat is 19th in the league at 49.1%; the Magic is 3rd at 52.8%. EDGE: Magic Turnover % The Heat is 4th in the league at 13%; the Magic is 22nd at 14.6% EDGE: Heat Offensive Rebound % The Heat is 20th in the league at 25.6%; the Magic is 26th at 24.4%. EDGE: Heat Free Throw Rate The Heat is 14th in the league at 29.7%; the Magic is 4th at 34.2%. EDGE: Magic KEY TO THE GAME The Heat has to stop the Magic transition game, hold Howard to reasonable numbers and make the Magic win from the free throw line. And Wade has to be nasty. Which I feel like I write in every single preview. I guess it doesn’t take a genius to figure out this Heat team, huh? What has surprised me recently has been that guys like Arroyo, Richardson and O’Neal have been stepping up in support of Wade. Now, the next step is getting them to do it consistently…if that happens, the Heat become a dangerous playoff opponent. Go to Hell Carolina, Go to Hell! And always guard the inbound passer.