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Magic 86, Heat 76, Jan. 2 Heat 103, Magic 97, Jan. 24 Magic 122, Heat 99, Feb. 22
|PG Rafer Alston
||PG Mario Chalmers
|SG Courtney Lee
||SG Dwyane Wade
|SF Hedo Turkoglu
||SF Jamario Moon
|PF Rashard Lewis
||PF Udonis Haslem
|C Dwight Howard
||C Jermaine O'Neal
This is a scary game for the Magic. Miami is fighting for playoff positioning, they're at home (where they're 26-11), and they have Dwyane Wade. The Magic need every win they can get to stay ahead of Boston. The Magic are percentage points ahead of Boston, but they've played two less games - so if the Magic can win those two extra games, they're technically one game ahead. Three keys for the Magic: 1. Don't let the others beat you.
Dwyane Wade is going to get his - there really isn't much Courtney Lee - or Mickael Pietrus, especially
- can do to affect him. He scored 50 points the last time these teams met, after all. But the Magic will get in trouble if someone like Udonis Haslem or Mario Chalmers has a big game. Chalmers had 20 points when the Heat defeated the Magic back in January. 2. Reserves need to play well.
When Miami beat Orlando 103-97 on Jan. 24, Orlando's starters combined for a +13 margin. Orlando's reserves, however, were -43. The reserves played some heavy minutes Friday against Milwaukee, and they responded by leading the Magic to victory. Expect Stan Van Gundy to continue to give the backups - particularly Anthony Johnson, Mickael Pietrus and Marcin Gortat - heavy minutes in preparation for the postseason. 3. Make your free throws.
The Magic are last in the league in free-throw shooting, and say it's all Dwight Howard is a cop-out. Howard is bad, obviously, but the other guys aren't lighting the world on fire. Against Milwaukee on Friday, everyone besides Dwight Howard combined to make 9 of 18 free throws. It was a blowout win, sure - but the postseason tends to put a magnifying glass on your teams' little weaknesses. There are too many good shooters on this team to be struggling with free throws. Additional notes (courtesy of the Magic):
* Orlando is 37-41 vs. Miami (22-18 at home, 15-23 on the road) during regular season action, including 2-1 this season. * Orlando is 2-3 vs. Mia m i during the playoffs (1997 first round). *The Magic have won the last five meetings at home. *Stan Van Gundy served as the Heat’s head coach for two-plus years from 2003-05, compiling a 112-73 (.605) record, and was with the Heat for 12 years in various capacities.