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