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GAME PREVIEW: Shorthanded Heat visit slumping Magic

Orlando has lost six in a row while Miami has won three of their last four games.

NBA: Orlando Magic at Miami Heat Jim Rassol-USA TODAY Sports

GAME STORY

The Miami Heat (17-12) remain shorthanded tonight as they visit the Amway Center to take on the Orlando Magic (5-24), who have lost six games in a row and won just once in their last 10 games.

This will be the second time the in-state rivals meet this season, with Miami winners of the first game 107-90 on October 25 with Jimmy Butler leading his team with 36 points. The Heat will have to count on their depth once more to help make up for the loss of Butler tonight, as well as Bam Adebayo, Tyler Herro, Caleb Martin and Markieff Morris. Victor Oladipo continues to travel with the team but there is no update or timetable for his return to action.

Orlando’s 2-9 home record is pitiful for sure, but with the Heat remaining so severely shorthanded they cannot afford to take any opponent lightly. Having said that, the Magic have also been decimated by injuries to several players so tonight may come down to which bench outplays the other. In that regard, the Heat have been benefitting lately from some impressive performances from players who have been given a chance to shine — such as Max Strus, KZ Okpala, Omer Yurtseven and Gabe Vincent, who had to replace Martin (who himself was playing well in the absence of Butler) in the starting lineup.

Tonight’s key matchup will be Kyle Lowry, who has stepped up and played well without Miami’s top three players on the court alongside him, and Cole Anthony, who leads the Magic with 19.9 points and 5.6 assists per game but is questionable for tonight’s game with a sprained ankle. Lowry has struggled a bit lately with limiting his turnovers, a by-product of having his playmaking duties increased, while Anthony was clearly not himself in their last game when he scored just seven points on 3-14 shooting and committed four turnovers — though he did contribute five rebounds and five assists in 34 minutes.

ODDS: FiveThirtyEight gives the Heat a 67% chance to win the game.

HEAT VS MAGIC: FRIDAY, DECEMBER 17 AT 7:00 P.M.

INJURIES

MIAMI:

  • Victor Oladipo - out (knee; surgery rehab)
  • Markieff Morris - out (whiplash)
  • Bam Adebayo - out (thumb surgery recovery)
  • Jimmy Butler - out (tailbone)
  • Caleb Martin - out (Health & Safety Protocol)
  • Tyler Herro - out (quad)

ORLANDO:

  • Jalen Suggs: out (thumb)
  • Jonathan Isaac: out (knee)
  • E’Twaun Moore: out (knee)
  • Michael Carter-Williams: out (left ankle)
  • Gary Harris: out (hamstring)
  • Markelle Fultz: out (knee)
  • Mo Bamba: out (ankle)
  • Cole Anthony: questionable (sprained right ankle)

LINEUPS

Projected Starters

Celtics Position Heat
Celtics Position Heat
Marcus Smart PG Kyle Lowry
Jaylen Brown SG Max Strus
Jayson Tatum SF Jimmy Butler
Al Horford PF PJ Tucker
Robert Williams III C Bam Adebayo

BROADCAST INFO

TV: Bally Sports Sun, NBA League Pass
RADIO: The Ticket 790AM & The HEAT Radio Network (Jason Jackson, Ruth Riley Hunter)
SPANISH RADIO: WAQI 710AM & The HEAT Spanish Radio Network (José Pañeda, Joe Pujala)

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