Orlando Magic News & Notes: The Heat Could Present A Problem, Pietrus Could Be Out A Week


NBA: Magic vs Pistons JAN 31

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It took overtime but the Orlando Magic defeated the Miami Heat 108-102 on Thursday night.

Brian Schmitz wonders if the Heat could present a problem for the Magic if they meet in the postseason.

When the Magic look back at their four games against the Heat, including Thursday’s night’s thrilling 108-102 overtime victory at American Airlines Arena, they certainly wouldn’t be strutting into a postseason match-up with their chests puffed out to here.

They’ve been warned. The Magic needed to play bonus basketball just to emerge from the season series with a 2-2 draw.

“You can’t sleep on these guys,” said Rashard Lewis, who scored seven of his 24 points in OT.

You can find that story here.

Schmitz also thinks Dwight Howard, who picked up another technical foul, needs to cool it.

The Magic have to change their attitude about Howard’s constant debates with the refs as well. After the Heat win, Coach Stan Van Gundy said that refs are looking for a reason to call something on Dwight.

I can’t imagine that’s the case.

Unless of course a few of them are sick and tired of his complaining.

After being called for his fourth foul, Howard muttered when he left the court,”They won’t let me play.”

A young Shaq went through much the same in his war vs. the refs.

Howard is too good of a player to have his focus taken away almost very game by the men in striped shirts.

Try the other way again, Dwight. Take the ego out of it. Try zipping the lip and see if the refs start to give you the benefit of the doubt.

You can read that story here.

The Magic think it was important to get this victory.

With the Magic (49-21) firmly entrenched in second in the East and the Heat (35-34) bunched among teams at seventh, a Sunshine State showdown in the first round of the playoffs could very well become a reality next month. The win allowed the Magic to split the season series with the Heat, something that could benefit Orlando’s psyche should a rematch come in the playoffs.

“It really mattered to us to tie up the series against them because there’s a good chance that we could see Miami in the playoffs and we don’t want to lose the season record to any team,’’ said Orlando’s Matt Barnes, who played one of his best games with 13 points, nine rebounds and solid defense on Wade. “We rallied as a team late in the game, made shots and got stops when we needed them.’’

You can read John Denton’s postgame analysis here.

Mickael Pietrus could be out a week after injuring his ankle.

“I’m praying,” he said, watching his team warm up while wearing a protective boot.

Pietrus missed his fifth game of the season on Thursday night as the Magic faced the Miami Heat.

Pietrus said he underwent an MRI, which proved negative. He sprained his right ankle in February, but missed just one game. He said he knew immediately this sprain was worse. “On that one, the next day, I was like, ‘OK, I’m good,’ but now, this one is much worse,” he said.

You can read this story here.

Michael Wallace breaks down the game last night.

TURNING POINT: Vince Carter’s three-point play in the overtime period essentially put the Magic in control. He scored on a floater over Dorell Wright, was fouled and converted the free throw to put the Magic ahead 104-100 with 2:13 left in the extra period. You could tell that took the wind out of the Heat.

You can read that story here.

Ira Winderman also breaks down the game.

“We threw every punch at them we had,” Wade said. “They came back and countered.

“We gave ourselves a chance.”

Battling back to tie from a 12-point deficit with 5:07 to play in regulation, the Heat was unable to convert off an inbounds play with 3.4 seconds left in the fourth quarter and eventually ran out of gas in the extra period.

“We had our opportunities there at the end,” coach Erik Spoelstra said. “We battled, we competed.

You can find that story here.

Dwyane Wade scored 36 points but that was not enough to get the Heat a victory.

Despite Dwight Howard sitting out almost the entire 3rd quarter, Miami spent the whole time trying to come from behind. A troubling stat was that the Magic were +10 in rebounds during that 3rd quarter with their best rebounder sitting on the bench. The 4th quarter didn’t start out much better with lots of Heat jumpers coming up on the short end, and the Magic were able to stretch their lead all the way to 10 thanks to making a good percentage of their shots while the Heat hit on just 2-of-14.

You can find that story here.

Congratulations to Ben Q. Rock, who has now been running his site devoted to the Magic for three years. Keep up the good work, Ben.

(Andrew Melnick is Howard the Dunk’s lead blogger and a contributor at NFL Mocks Subscribe to his RSS feed, add him on Twitter to follow him daily and you can get the HTD app here).