A second-half surge from the Orlando Magic, plus continued offensive struggles from the Miami Heat led to a 105-87 Magic victory Sunday evening inside Kia Center in Orlando, Fla.
The Heat opened Sunday shooting 23.5 percent in the first, scoring 19 points–the third time its scored 20 or fewer points on 35.0 percent shooting or less in the first quarter over the last four games. Fortunately enough for Miami, it trailed by three and went into halftime with a deficit of just two points. Though Orlando blew it open over the final two periods, outscoring Miami 57-40.
Collectively, Miami shot just 37.5 percent from the floor and 12-of-37 (32.4 percent) from 3-point range; according to Cleaning The Glass, the Heat’s 45.0 effective field goal percentage graded in the 8th percentile while its 95.6 points per 100 possessions placed in the 6th percentile.
Bam Adebayo led the Heat with 22 points, 11 rebounds, seven assists and two steals, shooting 8-of-17 from the floor. Jimmy Butler finished with 15 points, four rebounds and two assists on 5-of-10 shooting and 3-of-5 from beyond the arc; Tyler Herro had 12 points on 4-of-11 from distance while Caleb Martin finished with 11 points, four rebounds and four assists on 5-of-7 shooting.
All five Magic starters tallied double figures, led by Paolo Banchero, who had 20 points–17 in the opening half–with 10 rebounds, converting on seven of his 14 field goal attempts and three of his five triple tries. Franz Wagner had two rebounds and five assists, connecting on 6-of-13 shots.
Wendell Carter Jr. started for the first time since returning from his knee injury on Jan. 15. He finished with 17 points on 7-of-11 shooting with nine boards, while Markelle Fultz and Jalen Suggs tallied 12 and 11 points, respectively.
Sunday’s loss moves the two teams within one game of each other in the standings; Miami drops to 24-19, while Orlando improves to 23-20. The Heat also drop to 5-7 this season in games where Herro, Butler and Adebayo all play; that number is 31-32 in the regular season over the last two years and 67-49 over the last three years.
The Heat’s offensive rating over their last 10 games is 107.5, the third-worst mark in the league, though it remains No. 20 for the season. Nevertheless, its inability to create any sort of advantages in the halfcourt–especially since it can’t get to the rim–is an issue that needs to be addressed because it lacks an offensive identity. Its defense, a top-10 unit for the season, can only hold the fort down so much.
This marks Miami’s third three-game losing streak, which it will hope to snap Wednesday against the Memphis Grizzlies, who have lost four of their last five games and are 12 games below .500.
This is a developing story. Stay tuned for updates.
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