Hot Hot Hoops was in the AmericanAirlines Arena tonight when your Miami Heat took on their in-state rival Orlando Magic as they laced them up for the first time at home in this 2014-15 season. This was the second game of the eight-game preseason, the first a loss to the New Orleans Pelicans last Saturday. The Heat would look for some of the same passion and excitement from fans that they have been used to when they had now-rival LeBron James on the squad. Tonight, it was the first home game without LeBron in four years.
The Heat starting lineup would differ a bit for the second game of the preseason than what they showed in the inaugural tilt, replacing Udonis Haslem and Mario Chalmers for Norris Cole and Shawne Williams. Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh and Luol Deng would round out the starting lineup.
Bosh started things off on a positive note for the Heat in the first quarter, making some shots in the early going as well as taking a charge, a skill that the Heat have always shown an affinity for. The Heat will look to Bosh as well as others more for unselfish acts such as taking charges with now retired Shane Battier off the team.
Heat rookie James Ennis would enter the game with about 3 minutes remaining in the 1st quarter. A 2013 2nd round draft pick, Ennis is coming off a year spent playing in the NBL in Australia. The Heat are very excited for some of the things Ennis has to offer, including some of the numbers he has put up through these first two preseason games. As far as how this will translate to minutes in the regular season, Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said postgame that "[the Heat] want to invest time in him."
After one quarter the Heat trailed 29-24.
Mario Chalmers would hit a 3 early in the 2nd quarter followed by a James Ennis slam that erupted the Miami crowd in excitement. Deng and Bosh would continue their hot shooting nights and would lead the team in scoring at halftime, 14 and 12 respectively.
The Heat would enter halftime down 5, 52-47. The Heat had a lot of trouble keeping the Magic out of the paint and would end up being outscored 52-34 on the night within the painted area. Nikola Vucevic continued to get whatever he wanted in the paint including rebounds where Miami would find themselves in a 28-18 deficit at the half.
The Heat would open the third quarter with the same lineup they started the game with, still without a minute of playing time from Udonis Haslem, who we would later learn would not play in this game, presumably just a routine night of scheduled rest.
Wade woke up a bit in the third quarter, reaching into his old bag of tricks to pull out a nice spinning fade away and-1 jumper. The Heat would continue to whittle away at the Magic’s lead until Cole found himself a shot in the corner that would give the Heat their first lead in a while, putting them up 70-68. Chalmers would come up short on a 3 point attempt to end the third; the Heat would go into the fourth quarter down 73-70.
Birdman (AKA Chris Andersen) would connect on an old fashioned three-point play to begin the fourth quarter but the Magic would continue to hit their shots, retaining a lead between 5 and 7 points throughout most of the fourth quarter.
The Heat's most recent first round draft choice Shabazz Napier would make his first appearance of the night with about six minutes left in the 4th quarter, making it clear that regular rotation players and starters were all but done in this contest.
With Shabazz a bit tentative with his shot it was up to James Ennis and new Heat acquisition Shannon Brown to make things happen, and did they ever. Ennis would salvage a bad possession by hitting a 3 with the shot clock expiring. On the following two plays Brown would score a transition layup, then steal the ball and return just seconds later with an emphatic dunk that almost blew the roof off the AAA.
(side note: Seven Nation Army never dies.)
After a series of Magic misses at the rim, the Heat would somehow come away with the ball and Napier would be fouled with 2.2 seconds to go. Swish. Twice.
The Heat would carefully defend the Magic's final possession yet they still managed to score on a mid-range baseline jumper to send the game into overtime where the Magic were a little too hot for the Heat to handle. Rookie Devyn Marble hit two three-pointers as well as sunk two foul shots in the overtime period. The Heat would fall 108-101.
James Ennis would finish with a double-double, with 14 points and 10 rebounds. Bosh and Deng would finish with 18 points each.
Join us again next time as we get you set for a much anticipated matchup with the new-look Cavaliers from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The Heat and the Cavs will square off Saturday at 5:00 PM in what will be the first time LeBron will face the Heat since he bolted in the offseason.