In arguably their worst overall performance of the season, the Orlando Magic did little more than go through the motions against the Miami Heat, and came away with a 104-86 defeat as a result... and the game wasn'te ven really that close. Dwyane Wade and Michael Beasley led Miami with an effortless 25 and 22 points, respectively, while the bench combined for 32 points. The Heat shot 58% from the field and from three-point range through three quarters and held a well-deserved 29-point lead. Only an impressive showing from J.J. Redick (11 points on 4-of-6 shooting), coupled with indifference on the Heat's side, made the score look more respectable.
|Green denotes a stat better than the team's season average;
red denotes a stat worse than the team's season average.
What makes the loss so jarring, from an Orlando standpoint, is just how decisively Miami out-worked it, in every facet of the game. Point guard Carlos Arroyo twice managed to out-race a Magic player to an offensive rebound, for instance. The Heat moved the ball about as well as I've seen a Magic opponent do this year, making the right pass to the right guy, which helps to explain how Joel Anthony scored 3 baskets. The Magic's defense scarcely took any of the Heat's offensive options away through the first three quarters, in which Dwight Howard, the reigning Defensive Player of the Year, did not rest a single second.
The offense looked just as bad, really. Howard showed some nice moves inside early, with a rolling hook from the left block and a drop-step-to-layup maneuver from the right one, which had TNT analyst/NBA legend Kevin McHale, in a rare courtside appearance, raving. Other than that? Rashard Lewis rimmed out some open three-pointers and mid-range jumpers, while Vince Carter attempted to play HORSE with an invisible adversary, launching all variety of off-balance, contested looks. Carter's played much better of late, tending to drive to the basket rather than settle for jumpers. Tonight? 2 free-throw attempts, 4 three-point attempts (all misses) and 4-of-10 shooting overall.
It truly was an instance of Miami doing almost everything right and Orlando doing almost everything wrong, on both ends. Redick, to his credit, obviously came to play, finishing with 13 points, 5 boards, and 2 steals. But on the whole, the Heat chewed the Magic up and spit 'em out. Orlando rarely plays so uninspired on the road. Incidentally, it's now dropped 3 consecutive away games after an 8-game win streak. The good news, then, is that Orlando finishes out 2009 with 5 straight games at Amway Arena, where they can hope to rediscover their winning ways.