The Miami Heat are back home tonight to take on the Orlando Magic!
The Heat are in a 4-way battle for third place in the East along with the Boston Celtics, Charlotte Hornets, and the Atlanta Hawks. In order to stay in contention, Miami cannot afford to lose this game to an Orlando team that has been really up and down this year. Early on, they looked like a possible playoff team, but a horrid stretch during January shot down those hopes.
Miami won the previous meeting in Orlando on December 26, but they, like Orlando, are a different team. They are a much better team, so they are favored to win this one. Here are the 3 keys.
- Take your shots: The Magic are not a great defensive team, and even allow opponents to shoot over 45% on average. Miami should not have too much trouble getting their shots and, with how they’ve shot recently, that should be a good sign.
- Paint points galore: Vucevic and Illyasova are out, so guys like Dragic and Wade should NOT settle for jumpers. Also, Whiteside needs to own the paint when he checks in. I don’t see anyone on the Magic that can give them too much trouble down low.
- Get out and run: They have the means to do so and Orlando does not do a good job of getting back, so Miami needs to take advantage. Dragic should be looking to race down the court at every opportunity because none of Orlando’s guards can stay with him.
As always, the Heat need to put them away early, but I don’t think they will have a big issue doing that.