Image credit: fritzo00 (Instagram)
Who: Orlando Magic (11-12) and Miami Heat (9-13)
What: A Getaway Game
When: Tuesday, December 4, 2018, 7:30 PM EST
Where: American Airlines Arena, Miami, Florida
Why: To Reach 10 Wins
Injuries: Dragic out (knee), Derrick Jones Jr. probable (hamstring), Waiters out indefinitely
A two-game win streak? That’s only the third time this season that the Heat have managed to string two wins together. They haven’t won three games in a row all year. Tonight, they look to beat a Magic team that’s lost four of their last six games.
The Heat’s last game was a 102-100 win over the Utah Jazz on Sunday. Dwyane Wade was vintage in the fourth quarter, and all was well.
The Magic’s last game was a win as well, a 99-85 victory against the Phoenix Suns in Phoenix. That game was on Friday, so the Magic are well-rested and ready to play.
The Heat played their season opener in Orlando against the Magic, a game they lost 104-101. Last year’s season series stood at 2-2, with the Heat winning the second and third games of the series.
The Magic are bottom five in both offensive and defensive rebounding. Despite being a team with size and length, they get abused on the boards. The Heat are sixth in the league in total rebounds per game, thanks to Hassan Whiteside’s gifted rebounding ability. Look for a big game from Hassan Whiteside, as he takes on All-Star candidate Nikola Vucevic.
Vucevic is having the best year of his career in close to every statistical category, so he could be a handful for Hassan Whiteside tonight. Vuc is a silent killer. He doesn’t seem like he’s having a big game, then you look at the stat sheet and he has a quiet 15/7 in the first half. Watch for that tonight.
The key on offense is to crash the boards on both ends. Putting less of an emphasis on defensive rebounding (i.e just having Whiteside do it and have everybody else run the break) and more of an emphasis on offensive rebounding will take advantage of the Magic’s major shortcoming.
Defensively, contain Gordon and Vucevic. Aaron Gordon tends to leak out to try for fast break dunks to hype up his team, so keep a body on him. Vucevic, like I said, does things in a less flashy way, but both Whiteside and Bam have to stay vigilant and stay strong on defense.
The Magic don’t have an exceptional guard core, with Evan Fournier being the most consistent guard on the team. Terrence Ross is able to heat up quickly, but will take bad shots in order to do so. DJ Augustin has been on eight teams in his 11-year career, so he’s nothing special, but has made a home in Orlando as a distributor.
The Magic average less than 13 turnovers a game, a feat that only three other teams are doing so far this season. If the Heat win that turnover battle, they’ll most likely win the game.
Final Score Prediction- 111-102 Heat. I think the Heat will finally get that third straight win, their tenth win, and climb a little bit further out of the hole they’ve built for themselves.
The Magic head back to Orlando to take on the red-hot Nuggets tomorrow in the second half of a back-to-back.
The Heat fly to my hometown of Phoenix to take on the Suns on Friday. This begins a six-game road trip for the team.