February 19, 2012 – By Scott
On February 8, the last time Miami and Orlando squared off in NBA action, the Magic were fueled by 17 3-pointers to reel off their 102-89 home win. In addition, Dwight Howard poured in 25 points and had 24 rebounds. These stats are a lot for any team to overcome, even the Heat.
But since, Miami (24-7) has reeled off five wins in a row including their most recent on Friday, a 111-87 win over LeBron James’ old team the Cleveland Cavaliers.
In the previous loss to Miami, James had just 17 points and connected on just 5 of 15 shots from the field. But in his last four games, James has been on fire and is averaging 27.5 points per game.
Miami will need James to continue this type of effort, along with a better defensive performance, on Sunday afternoon as they get a shot at redemption when they host Orlando at 3:30 pm ET.
“They shot the 3 extremely well and the big fella in the middle took care of his 20 and 20 once again,” James said following that loss to Orlando. “Sometimes you have to pick your poison, but we gave up both tonight. They are an extremely tough team to beat when they are making the 3s and the big fella is doing what he wants.”
The Magic (20-11) have also been playing well as of late and have won 4 in a row, 3 of those wins coming at home. Now, they begin a 5-game road trip and it all starts in Miami on Sunday.
This matchup should once again be exciting as it showcases the top scoring team in the league, the Heat, against one of the best defensive teams in the NBA. Miami is averaging 103.7 points per game which is tops in the league. The Magic are allowing 91.1 per game which ranks 6th.
Howard is without a doubt a force offensively and defensively for the Magic but when they are hitting the 3-pointer, they are tough to beat. In games where Orlando has made 12 or more 3’s, they are 11-0.
NBA Basketball Betting Lines have labeled Miami as 9-points favorites on Sunday afternoon. The OVER/UNDER in points is set at 192.