Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

Danny

HEAT at Nuggets Official Game Thread and Preview

88 posts in this topic

670_heatnuggetspre_121115.jpg

(Photo Credit: Issac Baldizon)

The Miami HEAT are in Denver tonight to take in the Miami HEAT. The HEAT are playing on the second night of a back-to-back and are playing their fourth game in five days. After last night's loss to the Clippers, the HEAT are 6-3. The Nuggets enter at 4-4.

1. Neither Dwyane Wade nor Udonis Haslem has ever won a game in Denver. Does that change tonight?

Couper Moorhead: When the HEAT’s schedule comes out in the middle of the summer, the road game in Denver is usually the first one you circle – and it always seems to come on the second night of a back-to-back as well. It’s not just a Miami thing, either. Playing Denver under these circumstances, whether or not you believe the altitude comes into play, is one of the toughest things to do in the league. The good news is, this isn’t the type of situation that can ever be replicated in the playoffs. It will be a tall order, but Miami can win – there’s just nothing to worry about if they don’t.

Danny Martinez: Well, there’s a reason that the HEAT haven’t won in Denver in a really long time. Unfortunately, that reason plays into tonight’s game. Playing the second night of a back-to-back in the thin air in Denver is tough. Playing that game at the end of a long road trip and it’s doubly tough. That’s what the HEAT face tonight. Denver is 37-6 over the last three seasons when playing at home against teams on the second night of a back-to-back. Of course there’s a chance the HEAT pull out a win, but I wouldn’t expect it.

2. We just saw Denver a little more than a week ago. What should carry over from that game?

Couper: Kenneth Faried, being one of the best offensive rebounders in the league, will do his thing on the boards, but otherwise this should be a completely different game. Even just a week or so of time to gel makes a big difference, and everything tends to run a little more smoothly on your home court.

Danny: The game against Denver was the only time this season that the HEAT have gotten beat badly on the boards. The Nuggets frontline was relentless attacking the offensive glass. If it hadn’t been for a strong offensive effort, the HEAT probably would have lost the game. With the HEAT playing on the second night of a back-to-back tonight, I expect the Denver big men to focus on beating the HEAT on the glass again, especially on the offensive end.

3. Why does Miami’s spacing look so much more jumbled up than it did at the start of the season?

Couper: Some of it is that the HEAT are just getting everyone’s best defense right now, and those defenses are doing an exceptional job running three-point shooters off the line while also offering sufficient help in the paint, but the team has also just hit one of those ruts you hit over the course of the regular season. LeBron James is still playing wonderful basketball while the ball movement has been excellent, and as long as everyone stays committed to the offense, through makes and misses, thing will work out fine.

Danny: The biggest reason the floor is shrinking for the HEAT is they’ve been unable to generate consistent stops. Earlier in the season, the HEAT were pushing the pace off of stops, getting Chris Bosh, Dwyane Wade and LeBron James early post position and fanning shooters out around the arc. Without the stops, it’s harder for the HEAT to find the rhythm they’re looking for.

Some of the other reasons are a little mundane, but they have probably played a role as well. Fatigue, injury and defensive adjustments are all playing into the HEAT’s offensive constriction.

4. Could Denver’s pace be at least a temporary cure-all for some of Miami’s issues?

Couper: It should help open things up a bit, sure, but that pace Denver plays with at home is also the main reason teams have so much trouble winning there.

Danny: Yes. Denver likes to push the tempo at all costs. That is the game the HEAT want to play on offense. A quicker pace will lead to more space for HEAT attackers and ideally more efficient shots. By getting into a shootout, the HEAT may solve some of their offensive struggles by accident. It will be tough to run with the Nuggets since the HEAT are playing on short rest, but if the HEAT can settle into a rhythm they’ll be fine.

5. We have discussed this already, but are we just playing a waiting game when it comes to the defense?

Couper: I doubt anyone on the team would say that they are playing perfect defense right now, and it’s tough to correct those things in the midst of a four-game-in-five-nights stretch, but once the HEAT get home they only have three games in 13 nights. That should give them plenty of time to tighten the bolts.

Danny: Yep. It might be frustrating to some, but we’re still a long ways away from having to actually worry about the defense. Unfortunately for the HEAT, things may get worse before they get better. The Nuggets will provide a tough test, but after that the HEAT schedule becomes home heavy and spaced out. This will provide the HEAT ample practice time to clean up any issues they find. There’s a good chance that two months from now we’ll all laugh about the time the defense was doubted.

1 person likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Infernoians HEAT-Nuggets Preview

1. Neither Dwyane Wade nor Udonis Haslem has ever won a game in Denver. Does that change tonight?

KevinFromDade: No, I don't think it changes. There are a couple of factors to take into consideration: 2nd game of a back-to back on the road, a struggling Dwyane Wade, and what I believe to be one of the most deciding factors, the altitude change. The Nuggets are coming off of two days rest, so, I think they'll come out running. But, let's see.

KKinsey: That's hard to say, obviously this team is struggling lately and that does start with the teams co-captains Wade and Haslem. Now if our D continues like it has this season thus far, we might have a hard time against a young explosive Nuggets team. Don't get me wrong I like the whole 'small ball' thing, but I'd prefer to see it in smaller doses as a change of pace sort of thing. I would like to see a little more of Joel but I think he's still recovering from a quadriceps injury which might be why Spo is limiting his play.

Wuchuhurd: It sure doesn't feel like it. Look its hard enough to win the high altitude of Denver as it is, but against a young, athletic, and well rested team and playing the second game of a back-to-back the odds seem to be in Denver's favor at the moment. But it all depends on which Miami team shows up tonight.

2. We just saw Denver a little more than a week ago. What should carry over from that game?

KevinFromDade: That game wasn't exactly indicative of the way the HEAT want to win. Denver won the rebound battle 47-32. 18 of their 47 boards were offensive. Kenneth Faried was all over the place, going for 22 points and 12 rebounds (7 offensive.) The positive note, the HEAT only turned the ball over 8 times. So, strong box outs on Faried and McGee as well as keeping the turnovers low should be key.

KKinsey: Well we do know what kind of team Denver is. They are a young explosive team that moves the ball around well and will get at it defensively. Now Denver did kill us on the boards last game, so either maybe playing a little bigger or with more of an effort by everybody on the boards will be required. The Nuggets also have a young Udonis Haslem in the name of Kenneth Faried, who gives them energy, hustle and toughness. So containing him will be a challenge.

Wuchuhurd: Denver knows they should have left South Beach with a victory being up 6 with a little over a minute to go. That's just added incentive to playing the Champs at your house so I expect an all out blitz from Denver tonight. Meanwhile on Miami's side they are probably looking to contain the Manimal who had a spectacular game against Miami absolutely owning the offensive boards. Looks like it will be up to James and Bosh to carry the team if they want to escape Denver with a victory seeing that Wade is still ailing from his injuries. Wade has been awful on the road so far shooting just 37.7% through 4 games.

3. Why does Miami’s spacing look so much more jumbled up than it did at the start of the season?

KevinFromDade: Different rotations, different lineups. Our spacing being "jumbled" is nothing to worry about. The way I see it, it can be considered a result of a good thing. With the addition of Ray Allen and Rashard Lewis, the coaching staff is still finding ways to work with so many weapons. Having to find more space on the floor for all your options isn't a bad thing. Coach Spo and his "position-less" mindset will get the spacing figured out.

KKinsey: Well one of the reasons for that is we were shooting lights out from everywhere on the floor and last few games those shots just aren't falling, which is to be expected. The ball movement I've found has been quite impressive thus far into the season and almost to a fault where we are passing up on shots. It seems that this team is either too passive or the ball sticks too much instead of something inbetween where a good shot is produced.

Wuchuhurd: It's just a phase really. When shots aren't going down you tend to rely a little more on your playmakers and as a result the ball will end up being stuck be it short or long stretches of the game. We've seen how incredible ball movement can be, at times looking like Chris Webber's Sacramento Kings of the early 2000's.

4. Could Denver’s pace be at least a temporary cure-all for some of Miami’s issues?

KevinFromDade: It could be, but shouldn't be considered a "cure-all" by anyone that matters (players, coaching staff etc.) Denver is a young team that likes to push the tempo, yet only had 6 fast break points in last week's meeting in Miami. Having to play less half-court defense may prove to be beneficial in an extremely short-term manner, (only for this game,) particularly at a time where the HEAT are still getting things figured out. But, unfortunately, running away from your problems won't make them go away.

KKinsey: Hmm.... I wouldn't say it's a "cure-all", but it could help us seeing as we like to play a faster pace. On the other hand slowing down the game could be a better play style for this team seeing as our half-court offense looks better than in previous years. To say its a "cure-all"? I guess we'll have to watch and see.

Wuchuhurd: I actually think Miami is better off slowing the game down and trying to make it as much into a halfcourt game as possible.

5. We have discussed this already, but are we just playing a waiting game when it comes to the defense?

KevinFromDade: Yes. It is way too early in the season to begin worrying about defensive miscues. The HEAT are run by Erik Spoelstra, a Pat Riley prodigy, which means we are always going to be defensive-minded. We have three extremely versatile defenders that can practically guard all 5 positions (LeBron, D-Wade, Battier.) A lot of teams are putting on a three-point clinic against Miami, and that could be due to our perimeter guys collapsing inside on the bigs. That lack of size inside makes a difference on the outside. But, all in all, it is a waiting game. We had an elite defense last year (ask OKC,) and are coming into this season with the same core and coaching staff. 8 games in last season, Boston had the 18th best defense. They ended the season being the 2nd best. We'll be fine.

KKinsey: Because our team doesn't have that prototypical center around the basket and in the paint, our whole defense acts as one center where players collapse down low and help out which leaves opponents wide open behind the 3pt line. Now although we do have fast enough players to close out on those players, it doesn't really help if they're hitting every shot. Teams know who we are and thy come out to play against us and those teams hve players stepping up and at the moment aren't missing those shots. I don't expect this to continue all season.

We are also still integrating players into the defensive system which will take time. In the great words of coach Spo "It's a process".

Wuchuhurd: I'm confident Spo knows how to maximize the team's defensive potential and it's importance come playoff time. Right now with the positionless approach he is perhaps finding ways to maximize their offensive potential after adding Ray and Rashard. But it also helps to have a healthy Wade who is key in operating a defense that swarms the ballhandler the way they do.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

BAH! I had a nice long response, but someone at work just closed the page!

Guess I will let you boys handle the task tonight.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm looking for HEAT to bounce back tonight and to start putting the pieces together.MIAMI's defense has been awful on the perimeter.Denver will test MIAMI tonight with their uptempo style,but i expect MIAMI to start righting a few of it's wrongs...TEAM HEAT since '88!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm looking for us to start with Joel in the lineup! Its about time that we go back to that old lineup! If yo look at our Defense we are about almost last in everything requiring with defense. I miss that lineup when we had Joel at C! He brought us shot blocking and and at least some post defense.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm looking for us to start with Joel in the lineup! Its about time that we go back to that old lineup! If yo look at our Defense we are about almost last in everything requiring with defense. I miss that lineup when we had Joel at C! He brought us shot blocking and and at least some post defense.

i agree

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

@IraHeatBeat: Dwyane Wade is starting and will play tonight, per Heat.

My bad I guess the copy button didn't work. That was a tweet from Last night that I copied and posted. Sorry Spoey.

@IraHeatBeat: Dwyane Wade out tonight due to left foot.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I hate TNT, I have League Pass but game is on TNT so its blacked out everywhere but TNT and of course Boston and Brooklyn game runs hella late.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I hate TNT, I have League Pass but game is on TNT so its blacked out everywhere but TNT and of course Boston and Brooklyn game runs hella late.

Ya I was like *** is this Boston game not over yet?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Team looks great without Wade, ball movement looks awesome especially playing in a high altitude place like Denver while being in the 4th game in 5 nights

Spo should consider him coming off the bench for majority of the regular season except on those championship caliber matchups

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Faried is not there yet, love his hustle game night in and night out

He's too undersized, but he's getting it done, just perfect for a small ball team like the Heat

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hmmm no D-Wade and we are up by 12 against the Nuggets at half time.

Our offense looks so nice without Wade. No Hero shots anymore....Cole had 1 but thats it.

God i love our team without D-Wade.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hope to see Joel Anthony back in there. In the 4 mins he was out there he altered shots and got 2 blocks.

1 person likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

  • Similar Content

    • By Joe B.

      Photo Credit: Chris Marion
      On Saturday in New Orleans, Okaro White, Marcus Georges-Hunt and Keith Benson played in the 2017 NBA D-League All-Star Game. Click here for the photo gallery.
    • By Joe B.

      Photo Credit: Bill Baptist
      The Miami HEAT defeated the Houston Rockets 117-109 Wednesday night at Toyota Center. Hassan Whiteside led the way for the HEAT with 23 points. Click here for the full recap on HEAT.com. 
    • By Joe B.

      Photo Credit: Bill Baptist
      The Miami HEAT face the Houston Rockets Wednesday night at Toyota Center. The HEAT defeated the Rockets 109-103 in their last meeting on January 17. Tip-off is set for 8:00 PM. Television coverage on FOX Sports Sun begins at 7:30 PM. You can also listen to the action live on 790 The Ticket.
      1: What can Miami clean up from their loss to Orlando on Monday night?
      Couper Moorhead: There’s no one area to specify. Most of the team spoke after the game of the defense not being up to par, which it certainly was not in allowing 114 points per 100 possessions to an Orlando Magic team ranked among the bottom five in offensive rating. There was just too much in the paint, too often, coupled with Orlando grabbing 15 offensive rebounds that became too many efficient looks for Miami to overcome. 
      The offense wasn’t ideal, either. Shooting 6-of-22 is one thing, and not necessarily a huge negative considering a little regression is always expected after a prolonged hot streak such as the one Miami enjoyed during its winning streak, but just 14 assists on 39 made baskets is not the typical path toward success for this team. Overall it was just an off night for a team that had been playing very well earlier in the week. Against a tough opponent in Houston, we’ll see if the team can self-correct.
      Joe Beguiristain: While the HEAT’s offense was stagnant at times, it was the defense that ultimately let them down on Monday night. In all, Orlando shot 48.9 percent from the field and six guys scored in double-figures. Although James Johnson did his best on Serge Ibaka down the stretch, Evan Fournier and Mario Hezonja hit some big shots in the fourth quarter to keep momentum on the Magic’s side.  
      On the bright side, Miami had a good day of work on Tuesday in preparation for an offensive juggernaut in the Rockets. Not to mention, a lot of guys spoke of needing to get back on track defensively, so they understand the task at hand. In particular, Goran Dragić talked about the team needing to get back to its old habits. With Wednesday being the last game before the All-Star Break, hopefully the HEAT can close things out on a positive note.
      2: What worked so well for Miami last time out against the Rockets?
      Couper: It was 64 points in the paint which won the game for Miami. Hassan Whiteside only had 14 points on eight shots, but a number of early lobs and catches around the paint seemed to get Houston out of its defensive flow. After those early scores, and with usual-starter Clint Capela limited in his first game back from injury, the Rockets had to go out of their way diverting extra attention to Whiteside rolling to the rim – in turn, that created a clear driving lane for Goran Dragic, Dion Waiters, Tyler Johnson and James Johnson to exploit most of the evening. Anytime one of those players was able to beat their man off the dribble or turn the corner quickly out of the pick-and-roll, then they were looking at a layup more often than not.
      Joe: Everything went well for Miami in that last matchup on January 17. In addition to locking-in defensively and holding Houston to just 40 percent shooting, the HEAT also found a lot of success on the offensive end. Notably, Hassan Whiteside got the party started with 11 points and eight rebounds in the first half, as he utilized his size advantage on both Clint Capela and Montrezl Harrell.
      Otherwise, Dragić took advantage of the Rockets’ quick pace and had a monster fourth quarter to ensure the victory for Miami. With Houston still being one of the faster teams in the league, the Slovenian should be able to race out in transition once again. Of course, that’s also predicated on the HEAT getting stops like they did the last time out. It’ll definitely be tough since the Rockets have tallied a 113.8 offensive rating over their four-game winning streak, but Miami has the wherewithal to get the job done. 

      3: With Ryan Anderson and Eric Gordon both expected to play despite recent injuries, how could this game with Houston be different from the last?
      Couper: This was the other major story from that first meeting. One of Houston’s prolific shooters, Anderson, was out with an illness and the other, Gordon, had one of his worst games of the season shooting 1-of-10 from three and 3-of-17 overall. Coupled with James Harden shooting 4-of-15 from three (and somehow still scoring 40), the Rockets shot well below their usual standards from the perimeter. 
      Some of that is controllable by tight rotations and sharp closeouts, but three-point defense is one of the most volatile statistical numbers in the league in that you never fully have control over it the same way you can completely shut off the paint. In other words, counting on one of the league’s best-shooting teams to shoot 23 percent from three again, with both Anderson and Gordon expected to play after practicing on Tuesday, is less a reasonable expectation and more of a luxurious bonus when it does occur.
      Joe: If both guys are at the top of their game, it can really change things on Wednesday night. In that last meeting in late January, Houston shot just 9-of-39 from beyond the arc, with Eric Gordon going 1-of-10 from distance. Keep in mind that Gordon is shooting 38.7 percent from three this season on 9.2 attempts per game. Ryan Anderson, meanwhile, missed the game in Miami with the flu. Like Gordon, Anderson is an absolute sharpshooter, as he’s shooting 40.3 percent from long-range on 6.8 attempts per contest.
      This is just a long way of saying that the HEAT’s perimeter defense has to be sharp if they want to come away with the win. With Anderson back in the starting lineup, you have one of the most dangerous stretch-fours in the league to go along with three other shooters and Capela. That’s tough to combat.

      Highlights:
      January 17-Rockets at HEAT
      February 2-HEAT at Rockets
      Game Notes:
      The HEAT have dropped two straight and are 24-32. The Rockets have won four in a row and stand at 40-17 on the year. Tyler Johnson leads Miami with 1.2 steals per game. James Harden leads Houston in points (29.1), assists (11.3) and rebounds (8.2) per contest.  
      Efficiencies (Rank):
      HEAT Offense: 103.0 (26) HEAT Defense: 104.1 (6) Rockets Offense: 111.5 (2) Rockets Defense: 105.2 (12)
    • By Joe B.

      Photo Credit: Issac Baldizon
      The Miami HEAT fell to the Orlando Magic 116-107 Monday night at AmericanAirlines Arena. Dion Waiters led the way for the HEAT with 23 points. Click here for the full recap on HEAT.com. 
    • By Joe B.

      Photo Credit: Issac Baldizon
      The Miami HEAT host the Orlando Magic Monday night at AmericanAirlines Arena. Get your tickets now! The HEAT fell to the Magic 136-130 in double OT in their last meeting on December 20. Tip-off is set for 7:30 PM. Television coverage on FOX Sports Sun begins at 7:00 PM. You can also listen to the action live on 790 The Ticket.
      1: Why did Miami’s streak come to an end in Philadelphia on Saturday?
      Couper Moorhead: All winning streaks have a natural end at some point, and that point tends to be helped along by the schedule. The team will never offer up excuses, but viewing from afar it seemed fairly clear that playing on the second night of a back-to-back, at the end of a four-game trip and against an opponent that plays just as tough as Miami is known to play, the situation took its toll as the team neither shot (7-of-23 from three) nor executed (19 turnovers) at the level it had consistently shown during the 13-game winning streak. There’s nothing wrong with that, either. Every team deals with a tough schedule at times and Miami still fought to the end, with both Goran Dragic and James Johnson keeping them in the game through sheer force of will.
      They way they lost should be just as important to the story of this team than the fact that they ran off 13 consecutive wins. When the HEAT were losing close games earlier this season, they were playing as hard as they could. When they started winning games, they were playing hard as they could. When they finally lost, they were still playing hard as they could, pressuring full court, trying to disrupt passing lanes and attacking loose balls. And in that loss, they lost to a team that, under coach Brett Brown, has a reputation for playing hard no matter how the season is going record-wise.
      It’s easy to get wrapped up in results, but teams that can build a style and culture in both winning and losing have a great deal going for them. And now the winning streak become a story you can tell years from now, when a team with the second-worst record in the league ran off one of the more improbable, wacky, fun runs we’ve ever seen.
      Joe Beguiristain: Despite no Joel Embiid or Jahlil Okafor, the 76ers had a quick start to the game and were able to sustain their high energy throughout the contest. Without the two bigs, it was all about balance for Philadelphia, as seven guys scored in double-figures thanks to 27 total assists. While Miami fought hard and narrowed the gap to single-digits a few times in the fourth quarter, it just wasn’t enough in the end. That said, there’s absolutely nothing to be ashamed about since Coach Brett Brown always has his team ready regardless of who’s in or who’s out of the lineup.
      When it was all said and done, the HEAT went on an historic 13-game winning streak to get right back in the playoff picture. As they say, all good things must come to an end, but the habits Miami showed on its run have been evident all season. Whether it was Goran Dragić utilizing screens well and scoring from everywhere on the floor, James Johnson handling the ball or Rodney McGruder giving maximum effort on both ends, all of those things were on display before the streak too. In other words, Miami will always play hard and compete no matter what the circumstances. That all starts with Coach Spo and his rare ability to get the best out of each and every guy on the roster. Sure, the streak is over, but there’s still a lot of games left to be played. 

      2: Since their double-overtime win in Miami back in December, how has Orlando’s season gone?
      Couper: The Magic stuck around in the playoff race for a bit after that win – they’re still just a quick run from getting back into it, as Miami has shown – but following a return home on January 4 Orlando is 4-16 in their last 20 games and they’re currently in the midst of a four-game stretch that has included three 20-point losses. During the last 20 games, Orlando has the lowest offensive efficiency in the league, although that stretch also includes some missed time from leading scorer Evan Fournier. And coach Frank Vogel has been trying out enough different starting lineups, including Mario Hezonja of late, that it would be difficult to project exactly who they’ll have out there Monday night (Aaron Gordon is also questionable, as of this writing).
      Joe: Since that victory over Miami on December 20, Orlando has posted a 7-19 record. As a whole, the team has struggled on both ends of the floor, ranking well-below league average in offensive rating (100.6) and defensive rating (107.3). While the Magic have been really poor offensively, their shortcomings on the defensive end are especially surprising given that they have both Bismack Biyombo and Serge Ibaka. That said, Biyombo’s minutes have decreased over the past two months. We’ll see if they can get back on track as the season continues.
      Otherwise, Evan Fournier continues to lead the team in scoring. While the Frenchman hasn’t shot the ball particularly well in his last three outings, he’s still averaging 19.7 points, 4.7 rebounds and 4.0 assists per game during that stretch.
       
      3: What matchups can each team try to take advantage of Monday night?
      Couper: Orlando is an interesting team for Miami in that there are no immediate one-on-one matchups to exploit. Hassan Whiteside has a good deal of size advantage over Bismack Biyombo, but Orlando’s stable of big-men can try to move Whiteside around the floor defensively with Nikola Vucevic or simply pull him away from the rim with Serge Ibaka. Goran Dragic had an advantage when D.J. Augustin was starting, but Elfrid Payton is a very capable point-guard defender if he gets the majority of the minutes at that spot. And if Gordon plays, Orlando has a small-ball four to put up against the one-through-five stylings of James Johnson.
      But Orlando’s roster makes sense in that way against a good many teams, which is why they were projected to have a very good defense before the season began. In practice, with them ranking in the bottom third of the league on that end, it hasn’t been the case. So even if the HEAT doesn’t have a ton of physical advantages, they can create them with their execution – especially execution on the level that they showed last week against Atlanta and Minnesota. The three-point shooting will likely cool off, and already has, from the three weeks of being over 40+ percent, but as long as the ball is getting into the paint and finding open shooters from there – on that note, Dion Waiters could return Monday night – then getting Orlando to make multiple rotations is a good place to start.
      Joe: The center matchup should be pretty intriguing on Monday night. In that last matchup against Orlando, Hassan Whiteside had a monster game with 32 points, 15 rebounds and five blocks. Throughout the contest, the big fella found success against both Biyombo and Nikola Vucevic. As such, it would make sense for the HEAT to try and get Whiteside in a rhythm early on like on December 20. Of course, the flip side of that is Whiteside will have to come out and contest Vucevic on the perimeter. The 26-year-old Montenegrin takes the majority of his shots from mid-range and converts on 45.8 percent of them. Not to mention, he’s also a terror on the offensive glass.
      Other than that matchup though, there aren't any others that jump off the page as an advantage for either team. However, I am excited to see James Johnson and Ibaka go at it at certain points. Johnson has been on an absolute tear of late on both ends of the floor, while Ibaka has upped his scoring in the month of February. We’ll see how it all plays out.  
      INJURY UPDATE: Dion Waiters (ankle) went through Monday's shootaround and will warm up with the intent to play. 

       
      Highlights:
      December 20-Magic at HEAT
      October 26-HEAT at Magic
      Game Notes:
      The HEAT have won eight straight at home and are 24-31. The Magic have dropped nine of their last 11 games and stand at 20-36. Goran Dragić leads Miami in points (20.3) and assists (6.4) per game. Evan Fournier leads Orlando in scoring at 16.8 points per contest.  
      Efficiencies (Rank):
      HEAT Offense: 103.0 (26) HEAT Defense: 103.9 (6) Magic Offense: 100.6 (29) Magic Defense: 107.3 (22)