NBA Preview from The Sports Network
Wednesday, April 17th (All times Eastern)
Orlando Magic (20-61) at Miami Heat (65-16), 8 p.m.
(Sports Network) - It's a battle between the team with the NBA's best record, the Miami Heat, and the league's worst record, the Orlando Magic, when the two sides meet in South Beach Wednesday night.
The Heat have secured home-court advantage throughout the playoffs and will face the Milwaukee Bucks in the first round. How many minutes the starters play on Wednesday will be head coach Erik Spoelstra's call, but LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh, Mario Chalmers, Udonis Haslem and Shane BAttier all sat in Monday's victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers.
The Heat had six scorers in double figures, but Norris Cole made the play of the game when he stripped Kyrie Irving in the last seconds to give the Heat a 96-95 win.
"When you go out there and call on guys on the bench, it seems that someone always seems to step up," said Rashard Lewis, who led the Heat in scoring with 19 points. "It lets you know how truly professional this team really is and how deep out bench really is."
Lewis, Cole, Joel Anthony, Mike Miller, Ray Allen and James Jones all cracked the 10-point plateau.
After a 27-game winning streak this season, which was the second-longest in NBA history, Miami has won seven straight to end the season. It's pretty remarkable since James, Wade and Bosh have played sparingly.
To be fair, the Magic share the worst record in the league with the Charlotte Bobcats, who host the Cleveland Cavaliers on Wednesday night.
If Orlando loses and Charlotte wins on Wednesday, Orlando will have the worst record and the most ping-pong balls in this summer's NBA Draft Lottery.
The Magic have dropped two straight and seven of their last eight. Orlando has lost 11 in a row on the road.
On Monday, the Magic got crushed at home by the Chicago Bulls, 102-84. The Bulls outscored the Magic, 28-14 in the second quarter, then came out and won the third quarter by 10 to put the game essentially out of reach.
"Their intensity was just at a different level than ours and it shows us how much better that we have to get and how much harder we have to play," said Magic rookie Maurice Harkless. "We're a young team, and we have to learn how tough it is playing against these playoff teams. Hopefully in the future, we'll be a playoff team, too."
Tobias Harris led the Magic with 20 points and Nikola Vucevic continued to be a double-double machine with 17 points and 14 rebounds. It was his eighth straight double-double.
The Magic will most likely set an NBA record for fewest free-throw attempts per game at 16.5. The Phoenix Suns own the mark at 18.0 from the 2005-06 campaign.
Miami has taken four straight against the Magic, including all three meetings this season. The Heat have won three in a row over Orlando in South Beach.
04/17 10:38:50 ET