If these teams were meeting a week ago, it would be perfect for Orlando. But they are getting Miami at a horrible time. A win streak has finally countered all of their losing, and they beat the best team in the NBA by 16.
Anyway, Orlando is doing to do all they can to get the #7 spot and avoid those Bucks in the playoffs this year. Brooklyn’s comeback win over Boston tied them with Orlando in the win column, making this an important contest.
Miami is currently slotted in as the #4 team in the East, with about six weeks left to play in the regular season. It is not crazy to think that they can go on a 7-8 game winning streak and pass either Toronto or Boston in the standings.
If they slot in as the 4/5 and are able to make it out of the opening round, they have to take Milwaukee on. And nobody in their right minds would want a series with them. The competitive flare in the players may say otherwise, but playing them is unenviable.
The spread for tonight’s inter-Florida matchup favors Miami by eight. The over/under is set at 219.5 points.
Orlando looking for significant road win
They still rank #3 in the league in points allowed per game but have gotten blown to shreds in consecutive games, so that will have to be their focus tonight. Aaron Gordon missed the last game with a knee injury, and now his replacement Gary Clark is dealing with the same thing.
Both are listed on the injury report tonight, but they’ll hope to have AG back in the lineup. He brings a lot to the table and is an irreplaceable player in the lineup. They’ll need Nikola Vucevic to have a big game on the offensive end, while also limiting Nikola Vucevic on the other.
Terrence Ross is shooting just 39% for the year but has been on a tear of late. He’s averaging 14 points per game off the bench, and they’ll be looking for him to get it going again tonight.
Miami looking to join the 40-win club
It isn’t much of a milestone to reach 40 wins in a season, but to do it in just 62 is pretty impressive. This is especially true for a team that missed the playoffs last season and has a rotation looking very different from a season ago.
Jimmy Butler has come in and done a fantastic job here, Bam Adebayo stepping up to an All-Star level. Goran Dragic is a dark-horse sixth man of the year candidate, Kendrick Nunn has been a terrific story for them, and Meyers Leonard is their perfect starting center with his size and versatility. He misses his 13th game in a row tonight, however.
Andre Iguodala isn’t playing a ton, but he’s providing good defense, with Jae Crowder giving them tremendous production in his nearly 30 minutes a night.
Miami wins it at home
A tough night to be with the Magic, as Miami gets it done in front of the Heat faithful.
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