Denton: Magic vs. Heat Analysis (1/4/14)


The Magic jumped to a seemingly promising 57-54 lead early in the third quarter before Miami ignited a run that totally turned the game around. Miami used a 19-2 run – with six of the points coming from Lewis on four-point play and two free throws – to surge to a 73-59 lead.

From there, Orlando had trouble defending without fouling, putting the Heat on the free throw line 14 times with 12 makes in the third quarter alone. That allowed Miami to take a 90-76 lead into the fourth quarter even though James had made just three field goals.

Despite a couple of shaky moments early on, Orlando was able to stay in the game with the Heat in the first half by playing tough defense and pushing the ball offensively. Orlando was within 48-46 of Miami at intermission by holding a 15-4 lead in fastbreak points. And even without Vucevic, Orlando had an 8-0 edge in second-chance points in the first two quarters.

Nelson, who has a long history of playing well against the Heat because of a draft night slight 10 years ago, carried the Magic offense in the early going with 11 points, three 3-pointers and three assists.

Lewis got the start in place of Battier and hurt his former team with a fast start in the first quarter. He made four of his first five shots and nearly had his season high of 11 points with a surprising 10 points and an assist in the first quarter.

Lewis and Nelson still remain in contact, and like the Orlando taxi driver who chatted up Lewis a day before, the two often reminisce about the good ol’ days in Orlando when the Magic were championship contenders.

``Jameer and I still keep in contact with each other,’’ Lewis said. ``Even during the game we were kind of joking around a little bit. When he made that 3-pointer over me he was talking a little noise. Jameer is a real close friend of mine off the court.’’


Follow John Denton on Twitter here