For much of the first half of the Miami Heat’s game against the Orlando Magic, the Heat appeared headed for a big night. Chris Bosh’s jersey retirement was slated to occur at halftime, and the 8th-place Heat built a 17-point lead against the team right behind them in the standings. Derrick Jones Jr. even slammed home a sensational dunk in the second quarter.
But the game shifted in the third quarter, when the Magic roared back with 3-pointers. The Heat’s offense sputtered, particularly from beyond the arc. Josh Richardson couldn’t maintain his early scoring; he scored 11 of his 17 points in the first quarter. Suddenly, Orlando took the lead. But Miami had one last chance late in the fourth period, thanks to a flurry from Dwyane Wade.
D-Wade celebrated with fans after hitting this and-1 pic.twitter.com/ihOQ6MV5Fv— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) March 27, 2019
And Wade came up with a steal with 3:21 left to go and the Heat down 93-90. Wade passed the ball to Jones Jr., and D.J. Augustin wrapped up the high-flying forward around his neck to avoid an easy dunk. The referees opted not to review the play for a potential flagrant foul, and Jones Jr. made just one of his two free throws.
The Heat didn’t score again until there were just 31.8 seconds left. Orlando held on to win the crucial game 104-99 to leapfrog Miami for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. And thanks to an overtime Charlotte Hornets win over the San Antonio Spurs Tuesday night, the Heat stand just one game ahead over Charlotte in the playoff race.
For Miami, this loss was dispiriting — not only because it hurt Miami’s playoff chances on a night the Heat retired Bosh’s No. 1 jersey. But the Heat also are coming off an encouraging road trip that featured wins over the Spurs and Oklahoma City Thunder.
Miami missed Justise Winslow and his offensive playmaking Tuesday night. James Johnson and Goran Dragic combined for 1-of-10 shooting, unable to make up for Winslow’s production (as they have done in the past with Winslow’s injury).
Erik Spoelstra waited a bit too long to substitute in Dion Waiters for Dragic in the fourth quarter. Waiters was the Heat’s best offensive player Tuesday night, making five 3s and going 10-for-18 shooting from the field overall. In the fourth quarter of the Heat’s Saturday night win over the Washington Wizards, Spoelstra also opted to play a struggling Dragic over Waiters, who was making shots in that game, too.
The Heat also needed a bit more offensive production from Richardson and Kelly Olynyk, who was 1-for-7 and missed all five of his shot attempts from downtown. If the Heat miss the playoffs, some may look at Miami’s botched Jimmy Butler trade — rumored to have fallen apart over the Heat’s unwillingness to part with Richardson — as a mistake.
Now — a quick word on Bosh’s ceremony. His speech was funny and genuine. It had everything — a reference to the Harlem Shake video he and his teammates did, a message in Spanish to fans and a note to Wade that he had to beat him in something. And oh yeah, one last scream.
One last Chris Bosh signature yell before signing off pic.twitter.com/NljcZagJmy— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) March 27, 2019