The Miami Heat go into Sunday’s matinee against the Orlando Magic sporting the best record in the league (24-7) and playing better than they have all year, but don’t expect them to overlook their Florida rivals as the Magic is the last team to beat them on Feb. 8.
Something has to give as both teams come into the match-up on win streaks with Miami winning its last five games, while Orlando (20-11) has won four in a row.
In their last meeting, Orlando overpowered Miami inside with standout center Dwight Howard scoring 25 points and securing 24 rebounds, while also dominating from the outside hitting 17 of 42 three-pointers in a 102-89 victory.
Since losing to Orlando, Miami has completely overpowered every opponent during its recent road trip beating every opponent by at least 15 points.
It’s no surprise that the Big Three have led the charge with LeBron James scoring 25.4 points during the streak in just under 32 minutes per game, Dwyane Wade scoring 21.4 points just over 26 minutes per game and Chris Bosh scoring 15 points and collecting 10.6 rebounds a game in just over 31 minutes.
The stars should be well rested as none of them has played extended minutes in the fourth quarters of their recent blowouts.
Despite repeatedly making comments that he would favor a trade out of Orlando, Howard is still the mainstay of the central Florida squad. He’s scoring over 20 points a game and leads the league averaging 15.3 rebounds a game.
In his third year, power forward Ryan Anderson continues to show improvement and has become a consistent second option for the Magic as he is averaging almost 17 points a game and more than 18 in his last 10 outings.
The Heat and Magic are the two best three-point shooting teams in the Eastern Conference, with a 40.4 percentage and 39.1 percentage, respectively.
Both teams come into the game healthy with no major injuries to report. The game between Southeast Division rivals starts at 3:30 p.m.