Thursday, December 17, 2009

Game To Catch Tonight: Magic-Heat

The Orlando Magic are facing the Miami Heat in Miami tonight. Miami has been disappointing so far. While Michael Beasley is beginning to come into his own on the offensive end, the pundits are realizing that this Heat team just isn't deep. They have some nice pieces around their anchor, Dwayne Wade, but are just not strong enough talent-wise. They remind me of the Hawks a few years before they got to where they are now (third in the East).

If the Heat can play like the Hawks tonight, they can take this game. Wade has to establish the Heat's offense early. His early scoring could force the defense to suck in on him which would help Wade dish the ball and build his teammates confidence and numbers as the game moves along. The Magic will be prepared for Wade. That's another reason why Wade must attempt to score early. He needs to observe and react accordingly to the defensive game plan SVG (Stan Van Gundy) will stack against him.

The Heat also must shoot the three well. 70% of their shots are jumpers and guys other than Wade (Daequan Cook off the bench, Mario Chalmers, and James Jones) must be confident and knock them down. That always seems to be a barometer of this team. Rightly so, seeing as the only guy you could consider an inside option is Jermaine O'Neal. Let's just say that's an option you don't want to rely on night to night.

The Orlando Magic cannot rely on the simple fact that they SHOULD win tonight. Coming off a win yesterday against Toronto, this team is doing so well and you'd think they could come in and win here. That's what Miami's hoping for. Just like I've said about the Celtics in the past, the top teams must keep intensity as a pillar and a constant if they want to be successful. Those teams that play with the same effort against everyone gain my respect.

As long as Wade is kept in check and the offensive flows decently, the Magic should have this one. They beat the Heat at every position except the shooting guard. Using simple basketball analysis, they are a better squad.

The Magic take this game in semi-close fashion. Miami might control the first half, but Orlando will really begin to churn once the second half rolls around. I'm hoping for another amazing Wade dunk!