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Game #69: Orlando Magic (48-21) vs. Miami Heat (35-33)

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Use this post as your Open Game Thread

After their disappointing loss on Tuesday night against the Spurs, Miami will jump right back on the saddle and look to start a new home win streak tonight.  It will be no easy feat against cross-state rival Orlando, although in two of the three games between the teams this year, the Heat seem to have had the Magic's number.  The most recent meeting, a 16-point Orlando victory, came on a night where it was D-Wade's first game back after missing the previous four with a calf injury.  Michael Beasley scored just one point in 18 minutes and as a team Miami shot under 40%.

Tonight will hopefully be a different story for the Heat.  They should be hungry and are in a position to start firing on all cylinders.  Dorell Wright's on-court presence sparked their comeback against the Spurs on Thursday and the kid is hungry to help his team after his DUI.  Michael Beasley is getting stronger and stronger and should be close to 100%, and I'm sure his 1-point effort against Orlando isn't something he's forgotten. 

Sometimes I feel that Beasley should exchange the number on the back of his jersey with a big ol' question mark because you never know what you may be getting form the 2nd year forward on any given night.  It was obvious during Tuesday's game that he wasn't close to 100%, and the Heat were a visibly better team when he was on the bench.  Super Cool played just 3:32 in the 2nd half against the Spurs, and the Heat outscored San An 39-33 during that time.  I'm also not enthused by this quote from Beasley, which doesn't give me a whole of a lot to be positive about.  Said Super Cool:

"I feel it when I jump and when I run.  I wouldn't even call it a pain right now.  It's getting better day-by-day.  I've had it before.  It will be there for a while.  I'm just going to get used to playing with it."

While Orlando has been getting much better play from Vince Carter of late, Rashard Lewis has been having a very rough go of it over the past few weeks.  It's gotten to the point where Magic coach Stan Van Gundy has questioned Lewis' energy level on the floor after he averaged just 4 points in the 3 games leading up to last nights win over San Antonio.  Lewis responded by scoring 20 points on 7-of-10 shooting, but for the Heat's sake lets just hope that is an isolated incident and his struggles continue for at least one more night. 

GAME NOTES

  • Jermaine O'Neal and whoever has backed him up has done a very good job on Dwight Howard in the 3-games between the two teams this season.  Howard is averaging just 12.0 points and 11.7 rebounds in the 3 games, well below his season averages of 18.6 and 13.1.  But keep in mind that foul trouble has also troubled Howard against the Heat this year.
  • Udonis Haslem has been crashing the boards like crazy, averaging 10.3 rebounds in his last 8 games.
  • Orlando has won 6 of their last 8 games playing at the AAA.
  • D-Wade has been money from the foul line of late, hitting 80% of his free throws over his last 7 games.
  • While he isn't an offensive juggernaut by any means, you know you are going to get close to a mistake free game from starting point guard Carlos Arroyo.  He hasn't committed a turnover in his last two games, and is averaging 0.5 turnovers in his last 10 games.
  • In the Heat's two wins against Orlando this season, Michael Beasley has averaged 18.5 points and 10.0 rebounds. 
  • Miami will once again be wearing their special edition ‘El Heat' black jerseys.

An early 7pm hope tipoff tonight from the AAA because of the National T.V. audience.  TNT will have the game, and I'm confident that the Heat will put on a good show.  Not necessarily because of the National T.V. game, but more so because of how well they had been playing up until Tuesday's loss to the Spurs.  No thread for me tonight, as its back to work to cover the stinky Panthers.  Hopefully I'll have a good game to watch when I get home later tonight.  Let's go Heat!!!!