Miami Heat Torch Orlando Magic
Jacque Vaughn will have to keep waiting for his first coaching victory against Miami as the Heat stormed into Orlando and annihilated the Magic 120-92 behind 51.4 FG% and 15-of-24 3-point shooting. LeBron didn’t even have to do that much as he cruised to 21 points, 7 assists, and 6 boards. Heat had 5 players in double digits and destroyed the Magic on the glass (40-25 rebounds) and points in the paint (38-20). Other than Arron Afflalo’s 30 points on 7-of-9 from deep, this Magic team did not show up. Rookie Victor Oladipo finished with 20 points, many in garbage time, and coughed up 8 turnovers.
We were supposed to be celebrating Oladipo receiving his first ever NBA start in place of Jason Maxiell. Instead, Miami took a 14-0 lead in the first 3:34 of action. That’s pathetic as Orlando wasted their 3 full days off while the Heat were coming off a win against the Hawks just the night before. Afflalo finally put the Magic on the board at the 7:30 mark with two made free throws, making the score 16-2. Orlando missed its first 8 shots from the field before a Harkless baseline jam put an end to that and would jumpstart a 10-0 pinstripe patrol run. Talk about a bipolar beginning as the contest finally settled in. Afflalo’s 14 points in the period were massive as Orlando only managed 31.8 FG%, but only trailed 25-20 after one quarter.
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The 2nd quarter got strange quickly. Doron Lamb finally made his first points of the season with a corner 3-pointer. Then we had Solomon Jones miss a baseline dunk and watch it fall back into the hoop. At the 8:32 mark, the Magic tied the contest at 31-31 thanks to Jameer drilling three straight freebies. Orlando even had a momentary lead before LeBron decided to stir from his seven and a half minute nap and re-enter the game. Orlando trailed the break 54-49 behind Arron’s 20 points off 6-of-7 from 3-point range. Oladipo and Harkless were notably having problems on both ends of the court as the defensive switching was not paying off for Coach Vaughn. Miami held a 20-10 points in the paint advantage.
Small ball just was not the solution, and there was ZERO reason for Andrew Nicholson to be isolated on the bench when Solomon was playing horrendously. Miami dominated the paint and the 3-point land. Heat entered the fourth period up 90-71 and having made 12-of-19 (it was an outrageous 9-of-12 in one instance) from 3-point range.
Vucevic fouled out with ten minutes left in regulation and you knew there was no chance after that. Nik wasn’t being fed the ball and Miami did a great job of just keeping him out of any rhythm. You can’t go the small ball route and still cough up more turnovers, more 3-pointers, and show little off-the-ball offensive motion. Orlando gets to think long and hard about this disastrous performance before they face this Heat squad again on the road Saturday. I’d expect Dwyane Wade to be available.
Adam Papageorgiou runs Orlando Magic Greek and is a proud MBO contributor.