Orlando Magic vs. Miami Heat Preview and Pick

Orlando Magic -3 (54-18) at Miami Heat +3 (39-34) O/U 193 7:30 PM ET Monday March 30, 2009
By Jason Green at Predictem.com

Tonight in a match up of the two teams from the Sunshine State the Orlando Magic head south to play the Miami Heat. With less then 10 games left in the regular season both of these teams are going to make the playoffs, but each game is still important to each. The Magic are currently in 3rd place in the Eastern Conference, but they only trail the 2nd place Celtics by game.

The Magic would love to move into the 2nd position, as it would mean that they would probably play the Cavaliers in the conference finals rather than in the semi-finals. The Heat are in the 5th position in the East and while they probably will not catch the Hawks for the 4th position they are only 1.5 games ahead of the 76ers. The Magic are on fire lately winning 5 games in a row and are 8-2 in their last 10, while the Heat are coming off a win but are only 5-5 in their last 10 games.

This season the Heat are 26-11 at home and the Magic are 25-11 in away games.

The Magic are posted at -145 as road favorites and the Heat are posted at +125 as home dogs.

The Heat come into this game after beating the Milwaukee Bucks 102-85 on Saturday night. Obviously the high scorer for the Heat in that game was Dwayne Wade going for 27 points on 9/17 shooting, but Udonis Haselm had the 100th double double of his career and he will have to post a few in the playoffs if the Heat are going to advance. For the game the Heat shot 38/79 for a FG% of 48.1%. On D the Heat played great holding the Bucks to 31/84 for a FG% of 36.9%.

The Magic come into this game after also beating the Milwaukee Bucks, but on Friday night winning 110-94. The high scorer for the Magic in that game was Rashard Lewis going for 19 points on 8/15 shooting. For the game the Magic shot 41/80 for a FG% of 51.3%. On D the Magic played well holding the Bucks to 36/92 shooting for a FG% of 39.1%.

This season the Magic rank 8th in scoring (102.2 ppg) and the Heat rank 19th (98.2 ppg) even though they do have the highest scorer in the NBA in Wade. On D the Magic rank 8th in points allowed (94.8 ppg) and the Heat rank 12th (98.2 ppg). The Magic are a better team on the glass, as they have a rebounding differential of +1.5 rpg and the Heat are at -2.8 rpg.

This season the Heat are 33-38-1 ATS, while the Magic are an NBA best 45-26-1. In terms of Over/Under games the Heat are 37-33-1 this season and the Magic are 33-38-1.

On the injury front neither team is reporting any significant injuries.

The Magic have dominated this series as of late, as they have won 12 of their last 13 games against them. In many of those games Dwayne Wade had big games, but other players for the Heat could not step up and help him in the scoring department. Other Heat players will have to do that tonight, as well as in the post season. No matter how many points Wade has, he will need help from Udonis Haslem (10.8 ppg), Jermaine O/Neal (13.6 ppg), and Michael Beasley (13.2 ppg).

The Heat do not have a lot of size and it will be a team effort to keep Dwight Howard (21 ppg 13.9 rpg) from dominating the lane. However, the Heat can’t drop everyone in the lane, as the Magic are one of the best 3-point shooting teams in the league.

Containing Howard will not be easy, as he rested in the last game and he will be fresh tonight.

Heat PG Mario Chalmers (10 ppg) has to play well tonight and distribute the rock well evenly, as if Wade takes over and tries to score all the points the Heat will lose.

If the Heat can win this game it will give them a ton of confidence and give them some breathing room in the 5th position. If they stay in 5th it will mean they will not have to play Boston, Cleveland, or Orlando until the second round of the playoffs, which is what they need since the Heat are a combines 3-10 against those teams this season.

Jason’s Pick: I like the Heat to defend their home court tonight. They win AND cover!