NBA Preview from The Sports Network|
Saturday, March 1st
(All times Eastern)
Orlando Magic (18-42) at Miami Heat (41-14), 7:30 p.m.
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Orlando Magic finally put the brakes on their
lengthy road slide the last time out and are hoping a new streak won't begin
Saturday against the Miami Heat.
Orlando stopped a franchise record-tying 16-game road losing streak with
Wednesday's 101-90 victory at Philadelphia. Former Sixer Nikola Vucevic posted
21 points and 13 rebounds, while rookie Victor Oladipo ended with 17 points
and 11 boards.
Jameer Nelson added 16 points and 12 assists for the Magic, who won on the
road for the first time since an 83-82 decision at Chicago on Dec. 16.
"He (Nelson) was vintage," said Magic coach Jacque Vaughn. "We put the ball in
his hands and he came out and made shots for us."
The Magic are 4-27 away from home and won for just the second time in the last
seven tries with the victory over the lowly Sixers.
Magic guard Arron Afflalo has missed the last three games with an ankle injury
and is questionable against the Southeast rival Heat. He leads the Magic with
19.7 points per game.
Meanwhile, the two-time defending champion Heat welcomed back superstar LeBron
James in Thursday's 108-82 drubbing of the New York Knicks. James missed
Sunday's win over Chicago with a broken nose suffered last week in Oklahoma
City and wore a protective mask.
James posted a game-high 31 points on 13-of-19 shooting and has scored 30 or
more points in five straight games, averaging 35.8 ppg in that time. He talked
about wearing a mask for the second time in his career.
"I was able to get a carbon-fiber (mask), which is actually lighter than the
one I'd been wearing in practice. It came through at the last minute and I
went with it," James said.
Dwyane Wade scored 23 points, while Mario Chalmers, Norris Cole and Ray Allen
netted 11 apiece for the Heat, who have won six in a row and nine of their
last 10 games. The Heat are 2-0 on a four-game homestand, unbeaten in three
straight in South Beach and have a 22-4 home record.
Miami will close the residency Monday versus Charlotte and sits two games
behind the Indiana Pacers for the top seed in the Eastern Conference.
The Heat are aiming for another four-game sweep of the Orlando Magic after
taking all four meetings a season ago. They have won eight straight and nine
of the last 10 matchups with the Southeast rival Magic and are unbeaten in the
previous five as the host in this series.
James is averaging 19.3 ppg against Orlando this season.
03/01 10:23:27 ET