Once again, the Miami Heat stepped up and got a dominant win at home to finish out their home schedule this season on a high note. They dismantled the Orlando Magic 118-96 in what was an overall great performance. Hassan Whiteside started his first game since January and went for 18 points, 15 rebounds, and 2 blocks, which passed Shaquille O’Neal for fifth place on the Heat’s all-time list. Dwyane Wade had an efficient 17 points on 7-9 shooting. Luol Deng had 20 points and Goran Dragic had 19 points and 6 assists. Off the bench, Gerald Green had 15 points and Josh Richardson had 9.
Justise Winslow was forced to leave the game and did not return, but luckily it was just a sprained ankle so he should be ready for the playoffs. The Heat were very good defensively this game, holding the Magic to 69 points through three quarters. Here is how they did with the 3 keys.
- Lock down the paint: The Heat out-rebounded the Magic 47-41 and outscored them in the paint 60-38. The Heat did a much better job of defending the paint and making the Magic take contested jumpers. Great effort!
- Focus on defense: Overall a great performance from Miami. Orlando scored 96 points, but 27 came in the fourth quarter when Miami’s reserves were playing.
- Contain Vucevic: Vucevic had 19 points, but on 17 shots. He hit his first two, but had a lot of trouble over the course of them game with trying to contain Whiteside. That expended energy on the defensive end made it harder for him on offense.
With the Hornets loss, Miami is now a full game clear of the Hornets for 5th place, and still has a chance to gain ground on Atlanta if the Hawks lose in Cleveland tonight. Also, the Heat signed Briante Weber to their roster, and he played three minutes. I think that is a great pickup for the Heat as Weber has excellent defensive skills and ball-hawk ability. The Heat are also looking to sign Dorell Wright, which would be GREAT. Wright, a former Heat player, is a lengthy athlete that fills the “3 and D” mold of being a great perimeter defender and solid three-point shooter.