Sat, 29 Feb 2020

Rested Heat host struggling Magic

Field Level Media
27 Jan 2020, 16:55 GMT+10

The Miami Heat, coming off what for them this season is a rare home loss, will host the Orlando Magic on Monday night.

Miami, which is 20-2 at AmericanAirlines Arena, will be the more rested team. The Heat have been off since losing to the Los Angeles Clippers 122-117 on Friday.

The Magic, whoown an 8-15 road record, took their turn hosting the Clippers on Sunday night, losing 112-97 -- their fifth loss in the past six games.

Heat center Bam Adebayo is expected to play his 132nd consecutive game on Monday despite a sore ankle. That would tie him with Grant Long for the fifth-longest streak in franchise history. He said the team remains confident despite the loss to the Clippers.

"We've built a place where it's hard (for opponents) to win," said Adebayo, who averages 15.9 points and 10.4 rebounds. "To win here, they will have to do extravagant things."

Adebayo was referring to Clippers forward Kawhi Leonard helping Los Angeles beat the Heat on Friday with his first career triple-double. The Magic don't have Leonard, but they have been fairly successful against Miami in recent years.

Orlando is 1-0 against Miami this season, a 105-85 win at home on Jan. 3. Orlando was 3-1 against Miami in 2018-19.

In fact, Miami hasn't won a season series against Orlando since 2015-16. Since then, the Magic are 9-4 against the Heat.

However, Miami should have an advantage with the extra rest after having the weekend off. The Heat are 9-1 this season when they have at least two days off before a game.

The Magic are 1-6 on the back end of back-to-back games on the season.

Earlier this month, with a night between games, Orlando held Miami to just six points in the final period.

"Our defensive spirit was really good," Magic wing Evan Fournier said. "Six points in 12 minutes -- that's how we have to play every night."

Terrence Ross led Orlando with 25 points, and Nikola Vucevic added 20 points and 11 rebounds as Miami failed to match the Magic's intensity.

"It's an in-state rivalry or whatever you want to call it," Heat power forward Meyers Leonard said. "We have a target on our back, and we have to understand that and raise our level."

Indeed, the Heat, with three NBA titles and five conference championships in their history, often have left Orlando in their sizable shadow. Orlando, with zero NBA titles and two conference titles, often has been left looking up at the Heat in the standings, and that is the case again as they prepare to meet.

Heat coach Erik Spoelstra has done a masterful job juggling his roster due to frequent injuries. In Friday's loss to the Clippers, the Heat were without three key players: forward Justise Winslow (back) and guards Kendrick Nunn (foot) and Goran Dragic (calf).

In addition, star swingman Jimmy Butler left Friday's game in the fourth quarter with an ankle injury. Butler leads the Heat in points (20.3), assists (6.5) and steals (1.8).

Winslow is out for Monday's game, and the other three Heat players are questionable.

Orlando lists three players as out due to knee injuries: 2017 first-round pick Jonathan Isaac, point guard D.J. Augustin and forward Al-Farouq Aminu.

--Field Level Media

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