Ready for some Miami Heat basketball? So are we, so here's everything you need to know about the Heat's next game as they prepare for the 2014-15 NBA season.
|Mario Chalmers||PG||Elfrid Payton|
|Dwyane Wade||SG||Evan Fournier|
|Luol Deng||SF||Maurice Harkless|
|Udonis Haslem||PF||Aaron Gordon|
|Chris Bosh||C||Nikola Vucevic|
The Heat will open their home schedule of the preseason Tuesday night against the in-state rival Orlando Magic. After a tough loss over the weekend to a hot shooting Pelican team, the Heat will play the Magic who will be without two projected starters in Victor Oladipo and Channing Frye.
Oladipo and Frye both have sprained MCLs and their absence will really be felt. However, the Magic's two first round draft picks will start in their place, Elfrid Payton and Aaron Gordon. The Magic boosted their bench this offseason with the additions of Ben Gordon and Luke Ridenour to help with maturity in the locker room. It will be the first time in a long time that Jameer Nelson won't be the starting point guard for the Magic.
The Magic haven't played a preseason game yet, as they have only had training camp scrimmage under their belt. For the Heat, this will be their second crack at it. Miami will likely have Chris Andersen available this time, after he sat out in the opener on Saturday. Justin Hamilton won't play, and Josh McRoberts is an uncertain at this point, although he did go through practice on Monday.
What to Watch: The Heat will be searching for better and more fluent offensive sets as they struggled to score the ball well in their first appearance. The Heat managed only 86 points on Saturday against New Orleans as both Wade and Bosh struggled shooting the ball. James Ennis was a bright spot, so there will be added attention to him. Danny Granger played well in the scrimmage and the opener, will he continue? Has he returned to form?
Mostly, this game will again be about evaluating where the team is at after another handful of practices, and managing new rotations and players. Remember, the Heat have 20 players on the roster and have to trim that to 15 by October 28, the day before their regular season schedule opens.
This will be the last test the Heat have before they leave for Brazil and play the Cleveland Cavaliers on Wednesday.
Prediction: The Heat should be able to win this game fairly easy. However, the preseason isn't about winning games, it's about winning stretches of games and learning your team. I think the starters will have a much more productive game and better outputs from both Wade and Bosh. I don't think the Magic will have enough continuity to be successful after losing Oladipo and Frye. Do expect Vucevic to destroy the Heat on the inside.