Orlando Magic vs. Miami Heat: Preview, Analysis and Predictions
Miami, meanwhile, is putting a 15-game winning streak on the line against their in-state rivals.
For the season, the Magic are 17-44 overall and 8-21 on the road. They're also 7-29 against the Eastern Conference.
Those numbers pale in comparison to their in-state counterpart.
The Heat are currently 44-14 on the season and 26-3 at home. They're 21-9 in the Eastern Conference and 8-1 against division foes.
The question is, will the game play out as the numbers suggest?
Time: Wednesday, Mar. 6 at 7:30 p.m. ET
TV: FSN Florida & Sun Sports
Records: Orlando Magic (17-44) at Miami Heat (44-14)
Betting Line: N/A as of Mar. 4 at 11:19 p.m.
Orlando Magic's Injury Report
Glen Davis, Fractured Fifth Metatarsal, Out
Hedo Turkoglu, Suspension, Out
Miami Heat's Injury Report
Key Storyline: Continuing the Streak
The last time the Miami Heat lost was on Feb. 1 to the Indiana Pacers. Since then, the Heat have gone on a 15-game winning streak.
The question is, will the Orlando Magic be able to end their bitter rival's historic winning streak?
For those who believe this will be a mismatch, think again. The Heat needed overtime during their first battle this season, eventually winning 112-110.
Nikola Vucevic had 20 points and 29 rebounds in that outing to counter LeBron James' 36 points and 11 assists.
With all of that being established, these teams are much different today from where they were on Dec. 31. Whether by virtue of trades or player progression, both sides have seen a drastic change from where they were then to where they are now.
Since Dec. 31, Orlando is 5-25 and Miami is 23-6.
Key Matchup: Chris Bosh vs. Nikola Vucevic
The first time the Miami Heat and Orlando Magic played, Nikola Vucevic exposed one of the worst rebounding teams in the NBA. He finished with 20 points, 29 total rebounds and 11 offensive boards.
That enabled Orlando to score 50 points in the paint.
Matched up with Vucevic, Chris Bosh scored 22 points on 10-of-15 shooting. With that being said, Bosh also managed to haul in just four rebounds in 38 minutes.
That's a 25 rebound differential between the two players.
If Vucevic can dominate the glass against Miami on Mar. 6, the Magic will stand a chance in this game. If Bosh is able to keep Vucevic off of the glass, however, the Heat will control the pace and outcome.
Considering Miami is 30th in the NBA in rebounding, Vucevic has a chance to make an impact.
X-Factor: Arron Afflalo, Orlando Magic
When the Orlando Magic first played the Miami Heat, shooting guard Arron Afflalo scored 28 points on 9-of-19 shooting. He got to the basket at virtual will and drew fouls at a high rate.
Afflalo made 8-of-9 free throw attempts.
This time around, however, Afflalo is running into a red-hot Dwyane Wade. Over the past five games, Wade is averaging 27.6 points, 6.2 assists, 6.2 rebounds, 1.8 steals and 1.0 blocks per game.
Whichever player wins this battle could go a long way towards winning the game—consider the pressure to be mounting on Afflalo.
Afflalo is quietly having an excellent season for the Magic. He's averaging 16.7 points, 3.9 rebounds and 3.2 assists per game on 44.5 percent shooting from the floor.
On top of that, Afflalo remains one of the perimeter defenders in the NBA.
When the Orlando Magic travel to play the Miami Heat, many expect it to be a blowout. The fact of the matter is, rivalries often scrap the value of Win-Loss records.
Who will win?
Look for a close game to be decided late, as Dwyane Wade continues to dominate the fourth quarter of games.
LeBron James will have an even more significant positional advantage than usual, as Hedo Turkoglu is out due to suspension. To make matters worse for Orlando, they no longer have sharpshooter J.J. Redick.
Redick scored 23 points on 5-of-9 shooting from beyond the arc during the two teams' first showdown.
Nikola Vucevic will make things interesting with his ability to dominate the offensive glass. When it comes down to winning the game, however, the Magic simply lack the scorers to get it done.
LeBron will flirt with a triple-double, and Wade will take over in the final quarter of play.
Miami Heat 104, Orlando Magic 93
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