FINAL: MIAMI HEAT 104, ORLANDO MAGIC 100


GameNight Specifics
NBA Coverage: Game Info
Date: Thursday, Feb. 3
Time: 8 p.m.
Location: Amway Center (Orlando, FL)
Radio: AM 580 WDBO, AM 1270 WRLZ
Television: TNT



PROJECTED MATCHUPS

LINEUPS MAY CHANGE BY GAME TIME


TEAM
PG
SG
C
PF
SF
R
R
HEAT
Mario Chalmers

Dwyane Wade

Zydrunas Ilgauskas

Chris Bosh

LeBron James

James Jones

Mike Miller
MAGIC
Jameer Nelson

JJ Redick

Dwight Howard

Hedo Turkoglu

Jason Richardson

Ryan Anderson

Gilbert Arenas





















GAME RECAP


ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) In the days leading up to Miami's third matchup of the season with Southeast Division-rival Orlando, LeBron James stressed that even at barely the midpoint of the season there was high importance for Thursday night's game.

And James played like it, pouring in 51 points, 11 rebounds and eight assists - including a 23-point first quarter - to lead Miami to a 104-100 victory.

It was a season high for James, whose scoring effort tied for the fifth most points of his career. Dwyane Wade added 15 points and Chris Bosh 13. The victory was the Heat's fourth straight. The Magic lost for the fourth time in their last six and fell behind 2-1 in the season series with Miami.

"Just playing this team got me going," said James, who hit his first 11 shots of the night. "We understand that it wasn't just any regular-season game. There were a lot of things said about us in the offseason that came from this organization. So we just wanted to come in here and play to our abilities and make a statement."

Jameer Nelson led Orlando with 22 points. Dwight Howard had 17 points and 16 rebounds, but only one point after halftime and was just 3 for 13 at the free throw line. Jason Richardson chipped in 16.

The Heat were expected to exploit a thin Magic front line that was missing injured starting forward Brandon Bass. Instead, led by James, the Heat did their damage from the outside. They led by as many as 23 points before a frantic rally by the Magic in the final six minutes almost washed it away.

Miami took a 16-point advantage into the final period and led 90-69 before the Magic went on a 19-4 run, capped by Gilbert Arenas' 3-pointer to cut the lead to 94-88 with 1:51 remaining in the game.

But James responded with his own trey with the shot clock winding down to give Miami a 97-88 cushion.

A missed 3-pointer by Richardson on the other end was rebounded by James, who was fouled and hit 1 of 2 free throws. Another 3 by Richardson cut the lead to 98-91 with 51.1 seconds left.

Nelson hit a layup to trim it to 98-93 and then 99-95 with a pair of free throws with 22.5 to play.

Following a pair of free throws by James to make it 103-97, Nelson hit a 3-pointer with 9.4 seconds left. The Heat lost the ball on the ensuing inbounds play, but the Magic were unable to tie it on their next possession. Wade hit a free throw to provide the final margin.

"We just let our guard down," James said. "We can't do that as a veteran ball club. You can say that about a young team. We came in (the locker room) and you could tell by the look on the guys' faces that we weren't satisfied with the way we finished the game out. That's always a good sign. It's wasn't just 'Let's celebrate."'

Aside from the late flurry by Orlando, there was another scary moment for the Heat in the third quarter.

Wade was driving to the basket with 9:43 left in the period when he went up for a dunk and was fouled hard by Howard, who was attempting to block. Wade slammed to the floor and remained down for about a minute.

After a time-out, the Heat players - even those who were on the bench - went out to check on Wade, who was face-down on the court. He eventually walked gingerly to the bench and remained in the game to shoot two free throws. He went to the locker room and returned with a heat pack on his back. He returned to start the fourth quarter.

He had ice on his back afterward, but said he will travel with the team to Charlotte and plans to play Friday. He said he didn't think the play by Howard was dirty.

Nelson said he was pleased with his team's comeback effort, but not with another slow start by the Magic, who he said succeeded for the most part Thursday in forcing the Heat to shoot jumpers.

"We need to do the things we need to do to get ourselves ready, individually and collectively," he said. "We shouldn't have to come out and talk about energy or intensity every night. That should be a given of something that should be there every night."

Magic coach Stan Van Gundy said their early offensive woes were too much to overcome. For the night, Orlando shot just 42 percent.

"Everybody struggled on the offensive floor," Van Gundy said. "I was quote honestly pretty happy with the shots that we got. Some nights I'm not, but I thought we got good shots. I thought we had trouble putting the ball in the basket."

Miami coach Erik Spoelstra said that though he was pleased with the win, the final six minutes is what he will be watching for their final meeting on March 3. "They've very competitive. You've got to be on top of you game and for 42 minutes we played as well and as efficient as we can on both ends of the court. We had an unfortunate six-minute lapse, but I'm not going to let that take away from the win," he said. "It was a good win. Our guys were very motivated in this game to beat a division rival, but hopefully we've learned our lesson."

Notes: According to STATS LLC, in the lasts 25 years the only player with at least 50 points, 11 rebounds and eight assists in game was Michael Jordan against Phoenix on Jan. 21, 1989. ... The Magic were outrebounded 35-27. ... Making his fifth start of the season, Anderson scored in double figures for 19th time in the last 22 games.





DENTON'S ANALYSIS VS. HEAT


ORLANDO – Down to just 11 healthy bodies because of various bumps and bruises and down 23 points with 7 minutes to play to the arch-rival Miami Heat, the Orlando Magic looked very much like a broken basketball team late Thursday night.

And for good reason after LeBron James had rained in jump shots from all corners of the Amway Center and the Magic had one jumper and free throw after another miss most of the night.

But when James finally pouring in the points and the Magic started making a few shots of their own, they impossibly and incredibly had a try to tie in the final seconds. But when that shot didn’t go down, the Magic ultimately did in a manner few expected.

A furious, fighting fourth-quarter rally allowed the Magic to save face, but it didn’t allow them to save a victory. Instead, the Heat were able to escape the Amway Center with a 104-100 victory and a dazzling one-man performance from James.

James registered his first 50-point effort in a Miami uniform, pouring in 51 points, grabbing 11 rebounds and handing out eight assists. But what had to leave the sellout crowd buzzing was Orlando’s stunning climb back into contention, one that went from 23 points to three in a matter of minutes.

But Ryan Anderson couldn’t connect on a 25-footer with 6.9 seconds to play, ending the rally and forcing the Magic to contemplate what might have been had their spirited play started earlier in the night.

``It wasn’t one of those phone comebacks where we’re down 23 and we just close it to eight; we had a shot to tie the game,’’ Magic coach Stan Van Gundy said. ``And considering that we had no timeouts and the way executed and got a great look, you have to take that. I’m not happy with the way we played the rest of the game, but the comeback was good and legit.’’

The Magic (31-19) got double-figure scoring production from five players, but not nearly enough to offset the 17 of 25 shooting night from James. He also made three of five 3-pointers and 14 of 17 free throws for the eighth 50-point performance of his career. James did plenty of trash-talking during and after the game, saying that facing the Magic motivated him.

``Just playing this team got me going,’’ James said. ``We understand that it wasn’t just any regular season game. There were a lot of things said about us in the offseason that came from this organization. So we just wanted to come in here and play to our abilities and make a statement.’’

Miami (35-14) now holds a 4.5-game lead on the Magic in the standings and a 2-1 lead in the season series. The two teams play a final time in South Florida on March 3.

``I’m pretty sure when we see those guys again it will be a lot different. And we’ll see those guys in the playoffs, too,’’ said Magic franchise center Dwight Howard, who had 17 points, 16 rebounds and played all 48 minutes, but scored just one point in the second half.

Here is a look back at what went right, what went wrong and some final observations from Thursday’s nationally televised game between the Magic and Heat:



READ THE REST OF DENTON'S ANALYSIS





MAGIC VIDEO