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Magic vs. Heat GameThread

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Opening night is finally here, Magic basketball is back!

NBA: Preseason-Orlando Magic at Miami Heat Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

The Orlando Magic and Miami Heat are all set to begin their respective 2018-19 campaigns inside the Amway Center Wednesday night. The players and coaches for both teams are here in City Beautiful, eager to begin the long and arduous journeys ahead of them. And for now, despite incessant rumors throughout the preseason, Jimmy Butler is not here.

The Magic (2-3 in the preseason) and Heat (3-2 in the preseason) will be squaring off on the NBA’s Opening Night for the third consecutive season.

This time around, the Magic will be ushering in the Steve Clifford era. Clifford was hired in late May to try and lead the Magic back to the playoffs for the first time since 2012. Six seasons later (not to mention five head coaches), the organization is looking for a more concrete identity, accountability, and some sustainable success.

Getting off to a solid start will be critical for Clifford’s team. So will staying healthy. The Magic jumped out to an 8-4 start last season before injuries (and cold shooting) derailed their season.

Miami made the NBA Playoffs last season, ultimately losing in the first round to the Philadelphia 76ers (after winning 44 regular season games).

The Heat are returning nearly all of their roster in ‘18-’19, including all five starters (and all ten of their regular rotation guys).

Hall of Fame guard Dwayne Wade is returning for his 16th (and final) year with the franchise. Wade was drafted by the organization in 2003, and won three championships with Miami (in ‘06, ‘12, ‘13).

All Magic players on the opening night roster will be available to play Wednesday night for Clifford. For the Heat, James Johnson, Wayne Ellington, Dion Waiters, and Justise Winslow will be out tonight against the Magic.

It’s Opening Night, and with it comes a clean slate, a fresh start, and an even standing with all other teams in the Eastern Conference. Get excited everyone, Magic Basketball is back!

Leave your pre-game and in-game comments below. Feel free to follow our Twitter account at @OPPMagicBlog, and as always - enjoy!

Who: Miami Heat @ Orlando Magic
When: Wednesday, 7:00 P.M. (TV: Fox Sports Florida)
Where: Amway Center, Orlando, FL
Projected Starters:
Orlando Memphis
PG - D.J. Augustin PG - Goran Dragic
SG - Evan Fournier SG - Rodney McGruder
SF - Jonathan Isaac SF - Josh Richardson
PF - Aaron Gordon PF - Kelly Olynyk
C - Nikola Vucevic C - Hassan Whiteside