Though they drew first blood, the Miami Heat started off slow missing five of their first six shots. The Orlando Magic on the other hand would take advantage of Miami and go on an 8-0 scoring run. Following a forced timeout, it was Dion Waiters who would spark a small scoring run for Miami, one that would find contributors in bith Willie Reed, and Rodney McGruder.
The Heat struggled on the defensive end, being unable to grab rebounds or match Orlando’s intensity. Additionally the Heat were fairly sloppy, turning the ball over on weak passes underneath the rim. Thankfully, Miami would find their groove and score seven straight points as the quarter entered its final minutes.
The Heat, would continue their stellar play in the second quarter trimming a twelve point deficit to just four. Miami also suddenly looked great on defense, putting on a block party in the paint as they seemed to swat anything that left a Magic player’s fingertips. Just when it seemed as if the Heat were poised to steal the lead, the Magic would go on a run of their own.
Midway through the quarter, the Heat entered a scoring drought, as a result of being unable to rebound the ball. The Heat are usually very good at getting second chance points, but their lack of rebounding led to an 13-2 Magic run. The Heat looked lethargic, and unlike the team we just watched win 13 games. Fortunately, Miami would close the half on a 14-3 scoring run and a buzzer beater.
The Heat were quiet to begin the third, allowing Orlando to once again mount an offensive assault and fall behind seven. The Heat weren’t terrible though, they slowly chipped away at Orlando’s lead and made some great plays. This slow attack would lead Miami within four after a great Dion Waiter’s slam. Miami would then string together some beautiful plays and nearly overtake the Magic multiple times. James Johnson would spark a scoring run by himself (he scored 9 straight points) allowing the Heat to tie the game headed into the final quarter.
The fourth quarter would start with Tyler Johnson taking yet another shot to the head. Following his two made free throws, James Johnson would hit a long two allowing Miami to take the lead. Orlando would fight back hard going on a 9-0 scoring run stealing the lead back. Later, it was James Johnson once again who would lead Miami back into the game thanks to some aggressive play.
The Magic would once again rebuttal and Miami seemed unable to stop their offense. Every time the Heat seemed to be gaining on the Magic, they would blow it on the other end (or get burned by Evan Fournier). In a close game like this one, losing any ground creates massive problems and that was incredibly evident tonight. This was a very winnable game for the Heat, and their sub par defense is to blame for the loss.