GAME PREVIEW: Miami Heat head to Orlando for an in-state rival matchup against the Magic

All-Star big man Bam Adebayo will have to carry a bit more offensive load with Jimmy Butler listed as OUT.

Game story:

The 15-12 Miami Heat just lost a couple nights ago to the top seeded Minnesota Timberwolves. Stars Bam Adebayo and Tyler Herro returned to the lineup after a long absence due to injury, but their return was spoiled at home in Miami.

Tonight, the Heat travel to Orlando for an in-state matchup against the up and coming Magic. Orlando has been very impressive this season and has surprised a lot of people; they currently sit at a 16-9 record.

The Magic are the 4th seed in the East, as the Heat sit at 7th right now, 2.0 games behind. A Miami win tonight could be big for Eastern Conference positioning.

Adebayo and Herro came back the other night and didn’t miss a beat, as it seem like they indeed picked up right where they left combining for 47 PTS.

However, their ‘big three’ of Jimmy Butler, Adebayo and Herro have played less than 10 games together all season. That number will not be changing tonight either, as now Butler is listed as OUT due to a sore calf.

Butler was forced into carrying a heavier load for the team early on in the season due to their star teammate’s being injured. Butler is putting up All-Star numbers at 21.5 PPG, 5.2 RPG and 4.6 APG on 46.2% shooting. He is also shooting an extremely solid 37.7% from three.

Butler has kept this team afloat all season long with all sorts of different guys being in and out of the lineup.

This Heat core has a bad history of injury problems, and this season unsurprisingly has not been any different.

With Herro and Adebayo back, the team is fully healthy for the most part now. Kyle Lowry, who sat out the last game for soreness, is back in action for tonight. Kevin Love is OUT due to an illness.

Butler and Love’s absence in the front court seems to be putting coach Spoelstra in position to bring out yet another different starting line up in Orlando.

It could be expected for Lowry to be back as QB1, and Caleb Martin and Haywood Highsmith to fill in for Butler and Love who started last game, respectively. Bam Adebayo will round out the unit as the anchor at center.

This young Magic squad has a nice duo of Paolo Banchero and Franz Wagner to build around. Banchero is the reigning Rookie of the Year award winner and a potential first year NBA All-Star candidate this season.

With Orlando having nothing but disappointing and losing seasons for pretty much 10 years in a row, the way Banchero has been leading this team this season has been remarkable.

With Miami coming off a tough loss in the hands of an Anthony Edwards led team, they will now have to handle another young star in Banchero.

Tonight’s game will tip off at 7:00 PM ET on Bally Sports Florida.

Injury Report (at the time of this publishing):

Miami Heat:

  • Nikola Jovic (g league) — Probable
  • Jamal Cain (g league) — Probable
  • RJ Hampton (g league) — Questionable
  • Cole Swider (g league) — Questionable
  • Jimmy Butler (calf) — OUT
  • Kevin Love (illness) — OUT
  • Dru Smith (knee) — OUT

Orlando Magic:

  • Joe Ingles (ankle) — Questionable
  • Jett Howard (g league) — Questionable
  • Markelle Fultz (knee) — OUT
  • Kevon Harris (coach’s decision) — OUT
  • Trevelin Queen (g league) — OUT

Projected Starting 5:

Miami Heat:

  • Kyle Lowry, G
  • Tyler Herro, G
  • Caleb Martin, F
  • Haywood Highsmith, F
  • Bam Adebayo, C

Orlando Magic:

  • Anthony Black, G
  • Jalen Suggs, G
  • Franz Wagner, F
  • Paolo Banchero, F
  • Goga Bitadze, C

Betting Lines (at the time of this publishing):

Broadcast Info:

  • Tipoff: 7:00 PM EST
  • TV: Bally Sports Sun (Eric Reid, John Crotty)
  • Radio: AM 560 Sports WQAM & The HEAT Radio Network (Jason Jackson)
  • Spanish Radio: WAQI 710 AM & The HEAT Spanish Radio Network (José Pañeda)

Come back to Hot Hot Hoops at game time to join our GameThread and chat about the game live with other Heat fans!

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Reality Czech

Let’s go Heat! And game thread!

Reality Czech

Someone will rejoice – Jaquez is starting! 😆

ManilaHeat

Suns fall to Wizards and Blazers
Celts lead 17pts but still lost to Warriors (sounds familiar?)
Philly lost to the Bulls

These happens. And we still have a lot of bb ahead of us. It’s almost the same doom and gloom last season same time but we’re 3 games above .500. Yes a lot of teams got better via trades but they just look good. Period. Looking good doesn’t take you to the finals. Just makes fans feel good about their “star-studded lineup”. Again, perception. I’ll just wait for Riles to move. Or not. Jimmy’s last dance hope they make the most of it. Go Heat!

Reality Czech

Excellent observation Manila!

SunManFromDogBone

On the bright side, Miami has assets and draft picks and is only a couple of moves away from being a very competitive team. It’s time for Riley to work his magic. There are several players available on lottery teams (Utah, Charlotte, Washington, Detroit, Portland, and others) who could help the team before the trade deadline.

Bout30man

I agree. But, whenever I hope for a trade they never happen. Just once I would like to see something go down that would help. I always wonder, maybe Riley is trying but too many complications come up. I know it’s harder to make trades than any of us can imagine, especially because the other teams want the exact players we shouldn’t give up. But, then again, we often sit on the sidelines lately and watch others get stronger. No question in my mind, we need more. When everyone’s plays well, when the shots are falling, and even though we experience some cold spells we shoot for an overall good percentage, and when we get a lot of people contributing, and yet we still lose, and fail repeatedly in crunch time in games we used to win, that says it all for me.

heat for life

jimmys a part time employee even when he plays he gets extended breaks.a guy who really cares about winning would have told our top 15 coach in the 4thlast game put me in the fn game already spo what the f ru doing 4min 51 secs left he enters lol

oregoner

LoL. In-state Rival? That’s like saying the JV team is an in-school rival with the Varsity

heat for life

jv no longer check their record out been accumulating lost of young talented players last few years .drafting very high those years

oregoner

of course they’ve been acccumulating lots of talent, they stink every year. eventually they were bound to get someone good. I’m glad they have a good record in December, I think it takes a little more than that to be a rival to the best team in the East of the past twenty years

Bout30man

Look for this game to be very hard fought from the Magic who may think this is the year they can beat us. And maybe they can.
For us, another reason why we need to add to this deep, but lacking in certain types of two way talents, (Caleb, JRich, Jimmy, Bam, and literally noone else) and skewing older, with our major offensive players carrying so much load they are getting injured or need rest, the need for more two way talent becomes more apparent every game. We have to consolidate some of our more one dimensional players with trade picks and an offer centered on Duncan or Ty (I love both players but particularly Ty is our best chip to bring back the quality of a player we need to compete with the big boys). It is now obvious that this will be Jimmy’s last all- star level season. The time is now.

vagibugi

I m a bit worried that Jimmies last all star level season was last year.
He doesn’t play well even at games which are important to him. It was clear he did everything he could against Minnesota. But he couldn’t do enough.

oregoner

hmm. Interesting take. I’m not sure I agree he’s don’e playing like an all-star come playoff time, but I do agree that it is past time for him to be the best player on this team. Based on the way Bam and Tyler were playing before they got hurt, and based on the way Jamie has played all season, I think there is definitely a path for him to lay low for 3 quarters and be the 4th quarter closer, if he is up for it.

heat for life

father time undefeated except for brady and lebron

heat for life

dunc for joe harris even trade

Bout30man

Does that help at all?

heat for life

no pt is u cant get anything for dunc thats any good.coaches see his lack of athleticism unfort an all star type player in the 1960s

oregoner

Yuck. Joe Harris is washed and Dunc is playing the best basketball of his life

heat for life

guys that cant defend in this league hurt your team more than help.problem is most of these athletes in this league defend

oregoner

To quote the great Jabari Parker, “they don’t pay you for defense”. There’s a handful of good defenders in this league. Joe Harris is not one of them. Very few of them can also play good offense.

On the other side of the ball, Dunc one of the best three point shooter in the league, and can dribble penetrate and score off the dribble for the past two years. Now he’s starting to dish to big men for a flush.

I wouldn’t trade Dunc for Joe Harris plus a first round pick. I’m not sure I’d trade Duncan Robinson for Scoot Henderson. Call me whatever you want, Dunc has been absolutely balling lately

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