The Orlando Magic don’t need any additional reason to pay attention to Beasley’s whereabouts.
Beasley dunked home a Dwyane Wade(notes) miss to seal a victory in the waning seconds of the Heat’s visit to Orlando last month, and the Magic will look to atone for that surprising loss Thursday night when they try for their seventh win in eight trips to Miami.
Beasley was the No. 2 pick of the 2008 NBA draft yet finished seventh in the rookie of the year voting during an up-and-down first season.
He’s taken some steps toward becoming a dangerous second option for the Heat (12-11), none better than his latest game. Beasley bounced back from scoring a season-low six points in a Sunday loss to Memphis by matching his career high with 28 points and adding 11 rebounds in a 115-95 win over Toronto on Tuesday.
“I think it’s been long enough for me playing average,” Beasley said. “I’m just kind of mad at myself for not stepping out of the box. I’m kind of angry right now.”
Beasley has scored at least 20 points seven times this season - Miami is 4-3 when he does - but perhaps his biggest impact came when he had 15 points and 12 boards Nov. 25 in Orlando. The Magic appeared on their way to a 13th victory in 14 regular-season games against the Heat when Wade air-balled a jumper in the closing seconds, but Beasley grabbed it and dunked it to give Miami a controversial 99-98 win.
“From where we were standing, it just looked like goaltending,” said Orlando center Dwight Howard(notes), who had 16 rebounds but was held to 12 points. “… (But) it’s over with now. There’s nothing we can do about it.”
Wade had 24 points on just 6 of 22 shooting, but the Heat haven’t exactly thrived against the Magic (19-6) when he’s taken over offensively. Wade had averaged 40.0 points during his previous five games versus Orlando, but Miami had only won in his lowest-scoring performance (27) of the bunch.
Rashard Lewis(notes) had his worst game of the season in the Magic’s loss to the Heat, shooting 3 of 15 and finishing with nine points, but Lewis didn’t miss often Wednesday. He went 8 of 13 from the field - 5 of 8 from beyond the arc - and had a team-high 21 points as Orlando throttled the Raptors 118-99, a night after Toronto’s blowout loss in Miami.
Howard spent the evening showing why he’s the league’s reigning Defensive Player of the Year, finishing with 14 rebounds and eight blocks to go with 18 points.
“He’s a monster,” reserve forward Matt Barnes(notes), who had a season-high 20 points, told the NBA’s official Web site. “He gives the other players a chance to really get into their opponent, knowing if we get beat he has our back.”
Barnes had three points in last month’s visit from Miami, but Orlando got a season-high 25 from former Heat guard Jason Williams(notes). Williams, who’s starting in place of the injured Jameer Nelson(notes), has averaged 6.8 points in 10 games since.
Miami, meanwhile, may get Mario Chalmers(notes) back in the starting lineup. Chalmers, who started the first 104 games of his career, came off the bench for the first time Tuesday after arriving late to shootaround.
Chalmers had 20 points in Miami’s 103-97 win over Orlando on Jan. 24, its only home victory against the Magic since Feb. 14, 2006.