Tonight, the Orlando Magic host the Miami Heat in one of the most anticipated regular-season games in team history. The Heat's first visit to Orlando since adding LeBron James and Chris Bosh in free agency would have drawn a big crowd no matter when played, but the fact that this game comes almost a month after the nationally televised thrashing Miami gave Orlando on the second night of the regular season, a loss that still looms large over the Magic's season, has created a serious buzz. These two teams expect to contend for a championship. To borrow an old line, this state/Division/Conference/league ain't big enough for the both of them.
Miami's off to a slow start, at 8-6, which must delight its many haters. I get that, but I also think it's far too early to call this team a disappointment. It ranks in the league's top five offensively and defensively, and has the point differential of an 11-win team despite not having played Mike Miller, its floor-spacing swingman, all year. You have to consider the circumstances before piling on the Heat's iffy start. I'd contend they're a stronger team than Orlando so far, despite their inferior record.
With that said, they just took a 16-point loss to the Indiana Pacers--who are much improved, but still, come on--Monday night, which is certainly cause for concern. Sebastian Pruiti put together a series of film clips showing how flimsy the Heat's defense was, particularly on the interior. Certainly the Heat have weaknesses the Magic can exploit at that end, but Dwight Howard can't do it alone. Rashard Lewis and Jameer Nelson need to provide a boost on offense, particularly with Vince Carter out due to a knee injury.
Tipoff's at 7:30 on Fox Sports Florida locally or ESPN nationally. I'll be there to cover the game live.
|2010/2011 NBA Season|
|8-6 (2-3 road) |
|9-4 (6-2 home) |
|November 24th, 2010|
|Fox Sports Florida / ESPN|
|Carlos Arroyo||PG||Jameer Nelson|
|Dwyane Wade||SG||J.J. Redick|
|LeBron James||SF||Quentin Richardson|
|Chris Bosh||PF||Rashard Lewis|
|Zydrunas Ilgauskas||C||Dwight Howard|
|October 29th: Heat 96, Magic 70|
|2010/11 Advanced Stats|
|91.6 (21st)||Pace||92.7 (17th)|
|109.7 (4th)||ORtg||105.4 (19th)|
|101.1 (5th)||DRtg||98.6 (1st)|