- After the Heat's third straight victory on Monday night to the Cleveland Cavs, LeBron James was already looking ahead to tonight's important clash against the division rival Orlando Magic. It appears that more is at stake than the standings though. "The simple fact that it's a division opponent, that means a lot," he said. "Trying to win your division is very key. And also playing exceptionally well on the road is definitely key. That definitely helps later on in the season. And being an Orlando team that basically said a lot of things about us in the offseason, that definitely adds a little bit to the fire."
- A win tonight for the Heat would place them 4.5 games above the Magic in the division. Orlando have played .500 ball over the course of their last 12 games.
- The Heat are catching a break with Brandon Bass out after suffering a left ankle injury during their last game, a 100-97 loss to the Milwaukee Bucks on Monday night. He's expected to miss around five games. JJ Redick could be ruled out for tonight's game with a left shoulder sprain (he didn't play against the Bucks) while Gilbert Arenas returned on Monday after dealing with knee issues. The Magic's frontcourt was already thin after dealing Marcin Gortat to the Phoenix Suns but with the loss of Bass and former Heat forward Malik Allen unable to play, the Magic must pray that Dwight Howard doesn't get into foul trouble or have an off-night.
- Check out Magic Basketball, TrueHoop's Magic blog, for an interview that Eddy Rivera conducted with yours truly. You'll find some more insight from me about the Heat's current state of affairs along with Eddy's thoughts on the matchup including this little nugget: "The Magic’s perimeter defense has been dreadful, at times, and when Howard is sitting on the bench, opponents have been more than happy to attack the basket because they know the big fella isn’t there to stop them. Ryan Anderson and, before his injury, Bass aren’t intimidating presences in the paint. This is an issue that needs to be resolved. Not only that but after a hot start, Hedo Turkoglu has begun to slow down and he’s one of the reasons that Orlando has lost their way in recent weeks. During the Magic’s nine-game winning streak, Turkoglu was playing good-to-great basketball but recently, he’s been little better than average. If Jameer Nelson is seen as the heart of Orlando, then Turkoglu is the soul."
- Check out the team stats below. Both teams average the same amount of rebounds and rank next to each other in points per game and points allowed. A statistical curiosity but interesting nonetheless.
|(11th of 30) 100.3||Pts per game||101.6 (10th of 30)|
|(5th of 30) 43.1||Rebounds||43.1 (5th of 30)|
|(7th of 30) 94.7||Points allowed||93.9 (8th of 30)|
|Jameer Nelson||PG||Mario Chalmers|
|Jason Richardson||SG||Dwyane Wade|
|Hedo Turkoglu||SF||LeBron James|
|Ryan Anderson||PF||Chris Bosh|
|Dwight Howard||C||Zydrunas Ilgauskas|
|Gilbert Arenas||6th||Mike Miller|
|Matchup Series 1-1|
|8:00 PM EST|
|TNT / 790 AM|
|Heat: U. Haslem (out indefinitely)|
|Raptors: B. Bass (ankle, day-to-day), M. Allen (knee, day-to-day), JJ Redick (shoulder, day-to-day)|