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What They're Saying Before the Orlando Magic Face Off Against the Miami Heat

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  • Orlando Magic and Dwight Howard face Dwyane Wade and the Heat in what looms as a possible playoff preview.
    Brian Schmitz believes that the matchup between the Orlando Magic and the Miami Heat could be a playoff preview.

    Orlando had won 12 of the last 13 games until Miami beat the Magic twice this season, home and away.

    The Heat won a thriller in Orlando 99-98 on Nov. 25 and whipped the Magic 104-86 on Dec. 17 in South Florida.

    "They beat us twice, drilled us once," Van Gundy said of his former team. "They've got our number."

    Considering the teams are on different flight patterns — the defending East champion Magic are 39-20 and the Heat 29-29 as of Saturday — the two losses might be just blips on the Magic's big-picture radar.

    Obviously, Orlando can't eliminate the element of danger present in a playoff pairing with the Heat. But the Magic would at least like to analyze the findings that a win would bring and store the data just in case.
  • Orlando Magic better hope new arena isn’t an empty arena
    Mike Bianchi chimes in on the issue surrounding the new collective bargaining agreement in the NBA and its potential impact on the Magic.

  • Magic assistant coach Patrick Ewing has discovered that not everyone recognizes him any more — not like they do his star pupil, Dwight Howard
    Jameer Nelson feels healthy, which is good news for Orlando.

    Nelson missed 16 games to undergo arthroscopic knee surgery in mid-December, but said this is the healthiest he's felt in a year. He had shoulder surgery last February and missed the last 35 games of the season. "It's almost like being out a whole year," he said. "I'm as healthy as I've been in a long time."

More after the jump.

  • ASK IRA: A case of the terrible twos?
    Ira Winderman of the Sun-Sentinel comments on the possibility that Carlos Boozer or Amar'e Stoudemire could join Dwyane Wade in Miami if he re-signs with the team.

    Q: Ira, among the names that keep coming up when it comes to free agency for the Heat are Amare and Boozer. One of the issues that comes up with Beasley is his defense. Aren’t Amare and Boozer mediocre defenders, as well? It seems like they make defense a big issue for Beasley, but not for these other players the Heat are seeking. — Horacio.

    A: Because the other players are consistent and constant scorers. If Michael got to that level with his scoring and rebounding, I think he, too, would get the benefit of the doubt on the other end.
  • Bucks 94, Heat 71
    Wade, a Magic killer by definition, may not play in tonight's game.

  • Dwyane Wade's free-agency options include hometown Chicago Bulls
    Michael Beasley's progression as a player and value as a teammate could determine where Wade lands in the off-season.

    The prime variable of course is whether the Heat can even land a Bosh or Amare Stoudemire or Carlos Boozer with its cap stash.

    But seemingly just as much in play is how much Beasley is valued as a teammate (and how much Beasley makes himself valued over these final 23 games).
  • Owner Micky Arison confident of Dwyane Wade return
    Miami Heat owner Micky Arison "is 95 percent sure" Wade will stick around with the Heat next year. Of course, there's no guarantee one way or the other.