Orlando Magic vs. Miami Heat Preview and Pick – Point Spread

Orlando Magic (18-6 SU, 13-10-1 ATS) vs. Miami Heat (12-11 SU, 11-12 ATS), 8:00 p.m. EST, Wednesday, December 16, 2009, Amway Center, Orlando, Fla. TV: TNT
by Ryno of Predictem.com

Point Spread: Magic -3.5/Heat +3.5
Over/Under: 201

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When the Orlando Magic and Miami Heat play each other, there’s a lot on the line. They are both competing to be at the top of the Southeast Division and there’s inner-state pride on the line.

Last time these two teams met, on November 25, it couldn’t have been any closer. A tight game the whole way through, the Magic held a 98-97 lead in the final seconds. Dwyane Wade got the ball and attempted the game-winning shot but it fell short for an air-ball. But luckily for the Heat, Michael Beasley was there to tip the ball in at the buzzer, as the Heat won the game, 99-98.

Despite shooting just 6-for-22 from the field, Wade made all 11 of his free throw attempts and led the Heat with 24 points and six assists. Jermaine O’Neal and Beasley both dominated on the boards. O’Neal had 13 points and 16 rebounds, and Beasley had 15 points and 12 rebounds. Udonis Haslem also had 10 points and eight rebounds off the bench.

Jason Williams had easily his best game of the season, and it came against his former team. He had 25 points, including 4-for-6 from 3-point range, and eight assists and just one turnover. Dwight Howard only attempted five shots from the field, but managed to get 12 points and 16 rebounds. Vince Carter had 22 points and six rebounds.

The Magic are currently tied for first place in the Southeast Division with the Atlanta Hawks. The Heat are in third place, six games back from first.

After losing two games in a row, the Magic won two in a row over the Pacers and Raptors. They won 118-99 over Toronto at home on Wednesday and now must travel to Miami for their second game in two days. Against the Raptors, Rashard Lewis led the Magic with 21 points, including five 3-pointers. Howard dominated on both ends of the court with 18 points, 14 rebounds and eight blocks. Carter had 12 points, six rebounds and seven assists. Williams had 13 points, seven assists and no turnovers. Matt Barnes came off the bench and scored 20 points.

The Heat are also coming off a win over the Raptors. After losing two games in a row, the Heat defeated Toronto 115-95 at home on Tuesday. Beasley led the way with 28 points and 11 rebounds. Wade had 19 points, seven assists and just one turnover. Dorrell Wright came off the bench and had 16 points and eight rebounds.

The Heat got great production down low last time these teams met from O’Neal, Beasley and Haslem. They have to get similar production to win again this time around. Howard can only guard one of them, so the other big man on the court will have a strength advantage over whoever is guarding him, whether it’s Lewis, Barnes or Ryan Anderson. Wade shot very poorly last time but was still able to score a lot of points. He has to shoot better shots in this game and continue to be aggressive and get to the free throw line. The Magic have to do a better job getting the ball in the post to get Howard more shot attempts. He only attempted five shots last time and that’s clearly not even close to enough, considering Howard is arguably the best big man in the NBA.

The Magic are 1-3-1 ATS in their last five games. The total has gone over in four of their last five home games. The last five games have all gone over for the Heat.

Ryno’s Pick: These two teams fought hard last time they met. Neither team could grab a significant lead at any point in the game. The Magic need this win to ensure they stay in first place, as they are currently tied with the Hawks. The Heat need a win to stay above .500 for the season. The Magic also want revenge from the Heat’s last-second victory last time. Expect a hard-fought defensive battle with both teams hustling and working hard to win the game. The over/under is a bit overreacted because of the fact that both teams have been going over a lot lately. But last time neither team reached 100 points and it will be the same this time. Take the under of 201.