The Miami Heat started this one off slow. Once again their offensive woes were made apparent in the first few possessions. For some reason, the Heat elected to favor Luol Deng on the first few scoring attempts rather than their stars, and as a result were unable to convert from the field. There just seems to be no system or conductor in place. Each offensive possession looks improvised. You kind of know there's an issue when the Dwyane Wade/ Chris Bosh pick and pop is more effective than the Goran Dragic/ Bosh pick and pop.
The Orlando Magic however, were strong right out of the gate and never let up on the Heat. They seemed to have a clear mid-range game plan in mind and stuck to it for much of the first half. Scott Skiles has done wonders for this team. The Heat started solid defensively, with numerous stops, but with Hassan Whiteside's laziness in the key it was evident as to why the Heat are considered better defensively without him.
Foul trouble took Whiteside out early, and he was replaced with Amar'e Stoudemire which sort of contradicted Amare's "I'll play in big games," statement earlier this season. In any case his presence was forgettable.
Miami's second unit is strong. Though I miss the athletic paring between Tyler Johnson and Gerald Green, perhaps I like it when the Heat dunk teams to death. It's obvious that Miami's slow paced offense often favors Beno Udrih.
The Heat trailed for the entire half, as Orlando converted on various "miracle" buckets, while continuing to dominate from midrange. Regardless, Green continued his strong play with Justise Winslow stepping up as well. There were even flashes of how good, the Heat could be with Dragic in charge as Miami scored various transition buckets. Dragic also scored prolifically, running the court and scoring in bunches. Miami was dominant on offensive rebounds, though follow up scoring attempts were off the mark.
As the first half came to a close, the Heat fell apart defensively as the Magic caught fire on a 7-0 run. Bosh's buzzer beating dunk also didn't count.
Miami's second half adjustments were evident on offense right away as their ball movement improved dramatically. This allowed the Heat to go on a 10-2 run that helped close the scoring gap. Additionally, Miami's defense helped make it a five point game just six minutes in. The Heat wouldn't let up, as Wade became vicious on both ends, stealing the ball multiple times.
The Magic would battle back with a 7-0 run, but a three by Dragic and defensive stop helped stop the bleeding with a minute to go. Victor Oladipo would deliver one final blow with a buzzer beating three to put the Magic up seven headed into the fourth.
Bosh came into the fourth on fire scoring two jumpers back to back as Miami got to work on the offensive end right away. Udrih, Bosh, and Green all hit three point shots to give the Heat their first lead of the game. The lead would fluctuate constantly throughout the fourth quarter with big plays by Nikola Vucevic, Green, and Wade. However, as the game went down to the wire it was Miami who would hold on, with Wade sealing the game at the free throw line.