Heat 3-Point Hailstorm Extends Miami Win Streak to 27
After keeping even with the scorching Miami Heat for the first 33 minutes inside Amway Center, the Magic eventually succumbed to the best squad in basketball. The now 18-53 Magic dropped their seventh consecutive contest 108-94 on Monday evening. Miami drilled 15-of-28 three-pointers as Orlando couldn’t get their defense in order. Orlando didn’t have Nik Vucevic, but Miami was also without Dwyane Wade – or who knows how bad the beatdown could have been. Wade or not, it doesn’t matter when you have LeBron effortlessly posting 24 points, 11 assists, and 9 rebounds.
Coach Vaughn on LeBron: “He’s so big. He had the ability to survey the floor early on…He’s tough to guard. When he wants to score he cann score and when he wants to pass, he can do that as well.”
As if the injuries will never stop piling up, Andrew Nicholson suffered a sprained left ankle and did not return. That was early on in with the contest at just 13-13. Naturally, Jacque went with the super small Beno-Jameer-E’Twaun-Maurice-Tobias lineup on many occasions, refusing to play Al Harrington or give DeQuan Jones meaningful minutes. Orlando picked their poison with LeBron. Either double team James and eat an open jumper from guys like Mario Chalmers, or play man on LeBron and watch him travel and stroll through the lane. It was a 28-28 first period stalemate thanks to Jameer’s ten points.
Coach Vaughn on his squad: “A lot of good things tonight. 25 assists. I think we only had 3 turnovers in the first half and we were giving ourselves a chance to stay in striking distance.
Back-to-back 3-pointers by Maurice and Tobias to open the second quarter put Orlando up six and on a 16-5 run. The Magic allowed way too many open corner 3-pointers with LeBron and Bosh on the bench. A 13-0 Miami run handed our southern rivals a decent cushion for the remainder of the half. Rashard Lewis torched his former franchise with 11 points in the second period even drawing asburdly over-reacted double teams. The Magic trailed 55-46 at the break with Miami draining 8-of-15 from 3-point range. 22.6 FG% in the second period after pouring in a blistering 57.9 FG% makes you feel fortunate that Orlando was hanging around.
Coach Vaughn on keeping team morale up: “I tell the guys there’s one guarantee I’ve got for you, you’re not guaranteed tomorrow. Enjoy this, enjoy this process, and enjoy playing the game of basketball, competing, you’ve been doing it all your life.”
As the game pressed on, the Magic continuously paid for terrible rotations. Despite some unlucky finishes at the rim, Orlando’s effort would not wane. A Jameer triple tied the contest up at 68-68. At that point, LeBron went into ‘flying death machine’ mode in the last 2:52 of the period, proved by Harkless’ four personal fouls in that period. Orlando swallowed a 10-0 Miami run entering the final 12 minutes as horrendous turnovers allowed the Heat to pick Coach Vaughn’s men apart.
A LeBron posterization of Beno, a Ray Allen 3-pointer, and a Chris Andersen fastbreak hammer put Miami up eighteen points and on a 20-2 run early in the fourth period. Jameer did a decent solo job of making the remaining nine and a half minutes somewhat bearable. Nelson tallied 27 points and 12 assists. The 56-14 Miami Heat have now won 27 straight and are closing hard on the ’71-’72 Lakers 33-game streak.
Orlando now goes from facing the best team in basketball to the worst team in Charlotte on Wednesday.
Adam Papageorgiou runs Orlando Magic Greek and is a proud MBO contributor.