Heat cruise through a Magic malaise
Trailing by 18 points in the 4th quarter, Dwyane Wade grabbed a rebound and dunked the ball as 4 Magic players surrounded him. Not one challenged him. That play in itself sums up the entire afternoon for Orlando. The Heat easily defeated the Magic for a 90-78 victory that was rarely as close as that score suggests.
Miami came out with roughly 15x the energy than Orlando came with and it showed immediately. Miami opened up a double-digit lead on Orlando in just six minutes behind Wade’s Lin-esque play (had to, sorry). Wade would score 12 of his 27 points in the first quarter. LeBron James finished with 25 points, 11 rebounds and 8 assists.
The Magic were able to claw their way back into the game by finally slowing down the action. Orlando even took the lead 27-24 with 8:96 to play in the 2nd quarter but completely fell off the map after that. The Heat turned it back up and closed the half on a 19-4 run. Yes, the Magic scored just FOUR points in the final 9 minutes to trail at the half 43-31.
It only got better for the Heat in the 3rd quarter as they came out aggressive, putting up 27 points and stretching the lead to 16 heading to the 4th quarter. It was much of the same in the 4th as Orlando could never get the lead to less than 14 points before the starters were pulled with 3:04 remaining.
For Miami, they make scoring look so effortless and for Orlando, it looks painfully difficult. The answer is in athleticism. Orlando’s only elite athletic talent is Dwight Howard. The Heat happen to have two guys that provide the same -or probably better- elite athletic talent and who are much more capable of taking over a ball game. Best example of that today for Dwight? 2-10 from the free throw line.
Jeff Van Gundy offered this quote early in the game: “Against a team with superior talent, you have to be disliked.” That doesn’t mean playing dirty, it means playing with an effort and intensity that will hopefully give you the chance to overcome and challenge the elite talent on the other end.
When one of your most important players, Hedo Turkoglu, plays with such overall malaise it becomes exponentially more difficult for the other 4 guys on the court to make up for it. When you have an entire team that falls victim to the same malaise, defeating the best team in the league becomes impossible.
This just in: the Miami Heat are really good at playing basketball. The Magic? Well, they are just merely above average.