Heat 105, Magic 90
Miami won its season-best sixth straight game by running out to a big lead and cruising to a 105-90 win over the Magic on Wednesday night.
For much of the game, Miami put on an offensive clinic. Rebound, outlet, pass to the open man, layup—or slam dunk, if the player was in the mood.
“We knew that if we could defend and rebound, then we could run,” Miami coach Stan Van Gundy said. “I was upset with the times we didn’t defend because it took away our chances.”
Miami shot 49 percent, with 54 points in the paint and 31 on fast breaks. The Heat also made 20 of 21 free throws.
Over the second and third quarters, the Heat put the game out of reach by scoring 60 points while shooting 54 percent (22-for-41). Keying the breakout was a defense that held Orlando to 40-percent shooting after the first quarter.
“Offensively, we’ve always had guys who could score,” said Jones, who started 1-for-7 from the floor before finishing with a 10-for-15 burst. “But now we’re putting it down on the defensive end and making it hard for other teams to score.”
Miami’s lead reached 23 points late in the third quarter, although Orlando cut the deficit to 12 in garbage time.
“We played the first eight minutes of the fourth quarter as though we had this game already won, and I wasn’t happy with that,” Van Gundy said. “I don’t think we’re a team that can let up, and we did for a while there. Other than that, it was great.”
The Heat, in sweeping their intrastate rival for the first time, topped 100 points in all four games. Against the rest of the league, Miami has only 13 100-point games, and two were in overtime.
The Magic, losers of six straight and six of eight at home, played like a team with nothing to play for. Defenders were slow down the floor repeatedly, prompting boos late in the first quarter when Wade drove for a fast-break layup. That was among 11 layups or dunks Orlando gave up en route to an 11-point halftime deficit.
“Guys were just driving the lane, getting shots. We need to find a way to stop that,” said Tracy McGrady, back from a two-game absence after the death of a great-grandmother. “It’s frustrating to work hard for your shot, and then have them turn around and get easy baskets.”
Added coach Johnny Davis: “(Miami) was playing at a different level than we were. That’s indicative of a team that’s going somewhere and trying to do some things versus a team trying to hold on and make things respectable.”
Leading Orlando was reserve Drew Gooden’s 23 points and seven rebounds.
McGrady scored 18 points in his return. In McGrady’s last two games, he has scored 36 points following a three-game stretch in which he had 139—including an NBA season-high 62.
Juwan Howard scored 11 points; he and McGrady combined to shoot 11-for-30.
Miami’s Rafer Alston extended his franchise-record stretch of games with a 3-pointer to 37. Tim Hardaway had two 33-game streaks. Alston’s run tops the NBA this season. … Miami is 17-13 when Jones is the team’s leading scorer, 16-23 when he isn’t. … Brian Grant was hit with a technical foul forarguing in the fourth quarter.