February 3, 2011; Orlando FL, USA; Orlando Magic center Dwight Howard (12) defends Miami Heat small forward LeBron James (6) during the second quarter at Amway Center. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-US PRESSWIRE

Orlando Magic @ Miami Heat

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The Orlando Magic have won eight of their last 10 games, including their last four and will look to make it five straight when they take on the Miami Heat Sunday afternoon. The Heat have won five in a row and eight of their last nine.

Miami’s lone loss in the last two weeks came in Orlando at the hands of the Magic. The Magic defeated the Heat 102-89.

The Heat are 24-7 while the Magic are 20-11.

The Magic rank 14th in offensive rating (103.5), 11th in defensive rating (100.8) and play at the league’s fifth-slowest pace (89.5). The Heat are first in offensive rating (109.6), eighth in defensive rating (100.0) and play at the league’s seventh-fastest pace (93.1).

Tip-off from American Airlines Arena in Miami, Florida is scheduled for 3:30 pm EST and will be shown nationally on ABC.

As always, if you can’t watch the game, you can listen on the radio – in English on AM 580 WDBO and FM 96.5  and in Spanish on AM 1270 WRLZ.

The officials for tonight’s game are Bill Kennedy, Mark Lindsay and Rodney Mott.

The Line:  Miami – 9.5 (194u)

Starters:

Miami Heat

Joel Anthony
Chris Bosh
LeBron James
Dwyane Wade
Mario Chalmers

Orlando Magic

Dwight Howard
Ryan Anderson
Hedo Turkoglu
Jason Richardson J.J. Redick*
Jameer Nelson

*Jason Richardson is out with a chest injury.

Defending the three-pointer has been a big problem for the Miami Heat and in the first meeting between the two clubs, the Magic took advantage, hitting 17 treys in their 13-point victory. Obviously, Orlando can’t make 17 three-pointers every time they take on the Heat, but to get in a win, they’re probably going to have hit 10 or more.

That is, of course, unless Dwight Howard has another big night. Considering Miami is weak in the front court, Howard should have a big game just about every time these teams meet. Howard did just that in the first meeting, stuffing the stat sheet with 25 points, 24 rebounds, 4 assists, 3 steals and 2 blocks.

Howard will have to be just as good, if not better than usual on defense for obvious reasons (LeBron James, Dwyane Wade).

Another potential advantage the Magic have is at point guard where Jameer Nelson is slowly turning his poor start to the season around. However, you can’t discount what Mario Chalmers is doing this season – he’s posting an effective field goal percentage of 65.1%, a true shooting percentage of 67.2% and a three-point percentage of 47.3%. He’s averaging 11.1 points per game.

Heat Resources:

All U Can Heat
Heat Index
Hot Hot Hoops
Miami Herald
Peninsula is Mightier
The Sun-Sentinel

(Andrew Melnick is Howard the Dunk’s lead blogger, ESPN Florida’s Magic Insider (http://ESPNFlorida.com) and is the co-host of the ESPNFlorida.com Insiders Show Sunday mornings at 10:00 am EST. Subscribe to his RSS feed, add him on Facebook and follow him onTwitter to follow him daily. You can download the HTD app here)

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Tags: Chris Bosh Chris Duhon Dwight Howard Dwyane Wade Erik Spoelstra Glen Davis Hedo Turkoglu Ish Smith J.j. Redick Jameer Nelson Jason Richardson Larry Hughes LeBron James Miami Heat Mike Miller Norris Cole Orlando Magic Otis Smith Pat Riley Quentin Richardson Ryan Anderson Shane Battier Stan Van Gundy Udonis Haslem Von Wafer

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