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Tonight's Orlando Magic Game: at Miami Heat

The Orlando Magic finally get their first crack at the new-look Miami Heat this evening in the wake of the cancellation of last week's preseason contest. Eddy Rivera argues that the teams aren't rivals just yet, but I'm inclined to believe the opposite, given Michael Wallace's story on the two teams for ESPN.

Here's what Zach Lowe is watching for tonight; Tom Haberstroh and Kevin Arnovitz teamed up to make a similar list for ESPN. Eddy interviewed Arnovitz and Haberstroh for MagicBasketball.Net.

Me? I'm curious to see how often the Magic go to Dwight Howard in the post, and how Miami counters his interior offense. Does it send a second defender? When? Whom do they leave open? If Howard's in foul trouble or well covered, can Vince Carter get a clean shot off against LeBron James or Dwyane Wade, depending on who draws the assignment?

"We're gonna shrink the court and try to help [on defense]," Magic coach Stan Van Gundy said last night, with regard to his approach to the Heat. "Look, I don't have some sort of special Heat gameplan. We're going to play our defense." He also said "the biggest thing" the Magic need to do is "take care of the ball and get good shots." Poor offense, he said, will lead to easy transition buckets for Miami. Indeed, for Orlando, the best defense is a good offense.

The Heat seem vulnerable at the moment; they need more time to get themselves in gear. James is adjusting to his role, which will include more time in the low post on offense, as John Schuhmann points out. And James has racked up 17 turnovers in his first 80 minutes with Miami, many of them a direct result of lacking chemistry with his teammates, as Sebastian Pruiti expertly explained here.

It's the Heat's first home game since adding James and Chris Bosh--whom Miami is gravely mis-using--this summer, yet great seats are still available.

The game tips at 8 PM. David Steele and Matt Guokas have the call locally on Fox Sports Florida. ESPN has the national telecast, if you prefer its crew.

2010/2011 NBA Season
Miami Heat alternate logo
1-0 (0-0 road)
Won 1
1-1 (0-0 home)
Won 1
October 29th, 2010
American Airlines Arena
8:00 PM
FSN Florida / ESPN
Probable Starters
Jameer Nelson PG Carlos Arroyo
Vince Carter SG Dwyane Wade
Quentin Richardson SF LeBron James
Rashard Lewis PF Chris Bosh
Dwight Howard C Joel Anthony
2009/10 Advanced Stats
92.0 (18th) Pace 89.6 (28th)
111.4 (4th) ORtg 106.6 (19th)
103.3 (3rd) DRtg 104.1 (6th)
Game Officials
Scott Foster
Matt Boland
Scott Wall