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A Battle For State Pride In Orlando

  • In the newly named Kia Arena there is a battle for state pride in Orlando, as for the first time this season the Magic face the Miami Heat.

Regular Season Game 26 – Miami Heat vs Orlando Magic

  • Venue – Kia Arena, Orlando, Florida 
  • U.K. tip time is midnight, which is 7pm local for our friends in Orlando.
  • To watch here in the U.K. you will again need an active NBA League Pass subscription.

Orlando Magic 

  • Regular Season Record: 16-9
  • Run: lost last 2 played, and are 6-4 in the last 10 games played.
  • Home Record 11-2 (10-1 in the Amway Center; the Atlanta “home court” loss was in Mexico City)
  • Road Record 5-7
  • Standing: 4th in the East 
  • Points Per GameFor 113.2 (19th) Against 109.9 (4th)
  • RatingOffensive 21st Defensive 3rd

Last Time Out – Boston Celtics

  • Two defeats on the road in Boston were not a disaster against the best team in the East, but perhaps the manner of them was.
  • In the first game the Magic suffered a 111-128 loss and had a season high 21 turnovers, which led to 26 Celtics points. Fouls were a huge issue also. Jalen Suggs led Orlando with 19 points. Cole Anthony tallied 17 points, while Goga Bitadze hit a double-double with 15 points and 11 rebounds.
  • The second game was a 97-114 loss, in which Paolo Banchero erupted for 36 points (with 26 of those coming in the first half). It was a night of shooting struggles outside of Paolo. The team did improve on the turnovers and fouls but sloppy defence and an inability to get stops cost.

Tonight

  • The Magic injury report has an exciting development.
  • Wendell Carter Jr is no longer on the report and so could feature.
  • Joe Ingles is also out again having been absent in the last game, after he injured an ankle in the first Boston fixture.
  • Markelle Fultz (left knee tendinitis) is listed as out for the game.
  • Jett Howard is a late recall to the squad, having again been on G-League assignment.
  • Two-way player Trevelin Queen is again not part of the squad.
  • Kevon Harris has yet to suit up for Orlando this season and is again listed as a coach’s decision to not play.
  • The question is whether Wendell comes back into the starting rotation. If he does return there will be a question as to his minutes load. Anthony Black, Jalen Suggs, Franz Wagner and Paolo Banchero will be 4-of-the-5 on court at the opening tip. Having been exceptional in the starting unit Goga Bitadze will now be potentially playing back-up minutes, in competition with Moritz Wagner.
  • Remember, this is also the first night of a back-to-back for Orlando. The Magic will travel to face the Milwaukee Bucks on the second night of this pairing.

The Miami Heat

Season Stats

  • Regular Season Record: 15-12 Run: Won 5 in their last 10 played
  • Standing: 7th in the East 
  • Points Per GameFor 112.8 (20th) Against 112.1 (10th)
  • RatingOffensive 15th Defensive 15th
  • At a 3-point-percentage of 39% the Heat are the leagues most efficient team from distance, making 12.9 per game of their 32.9 shots taken.
  • The Heat have three stars and they lead this team. Tyler Herro (23.1 ppg), Bam Adebayo (22.2 ppg) and Jimmy Butler (21.5) account for over half the Heat’s scoring per game.
  • The Heat almost match the Magic for restricting opponents points in the paint at 48.1 per game. Miami excel at preventing second chance points, conceding just 12.2 per game.

Last Time Out For The Heat

  • Last time out Miami took a home court 112-108 loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves, losing a 12 point halftime lead. 
  • Adebayo, Butler and Herro (team leader with 25 points) were joined in double digit scoring by Duncan Robinson and Josh Richardson from the bench. 
  • The team had 10 steals, but committed 15 turnovers. 
  • Starting 5 – Caleb Martin, Tyler Herro, Jimmy Butler, Kevin Love, Bam Adebayo
  • Josh Richardson, Duncan Robinson, Hayward Highsmith and the excellent rookie Jamie Jacquez Jr came from the bench.
  • Thomas Bryant, RJ Hampton, Nikola Jovic and Orlando Robinson were listed as available but did not play. 
  • Kyle Lowry was one of four players who were inactive.

Tonight

  • The Heat have genuine injury concerns. 
  • The headline loss is Jimmy Butler, who is out.
  • Kevin Love is out.
  • Kyle Lowry is questionable, being day-to-day.
  • Nikola Jovic has been on G-League assignment but is listed as probable for tonight.
  • Dru Smith is out.
  • RJ Hampton and Cole Swider are both questionable, whilst Jamal Cain is probable. All three are two-way players.
  • Miami therefore have to make changes with the absence of both starting forwards from the previous outing.

Head-To-Head With The Miami Heat 

  • In 134 regular season games played and the score stands at 58-76 to the Heat.
  • Last season was a 3-1 win for the Heat, with two of the four games going to overtime. 
  • Orlando last won the series in the 2018-19 season, a 3-1 victory that ultimately saw Orlando make the playoffs, whilst Miami missed out.

A Battle For State Pride In Orlando – Our Final Thoughts

  • Injuries will hurt both teams but Butler’s absence is a huge hit to Miami.
  • Whilst Miami are not hitting the heights of their playoff run of last season they remain dangerous. 
  • Orlando’s home form could be a key factor as there has been a pride and ferocity in “defending the kingdom”.
  • However Miami have been strong on the road, winning 8 of 14 games played so far.
  • Building from defence will again be key for the Magic as they look to move on from the disappointing performances in Boston.

The Let’s Talk Magic Game Preview

GO MAGIC!