Developing story:
9-3
120 -
Team 1 2 3 4
MIA 25 29 36 30
ORL 20 29 22 21
92
4-7

Heat-Magic Preview

AP - Sports

Sometimes it's easy to forget that LeBron James does not have to do it all for the Miami Heat - even when Dwyane Wade is sitting on the bench.

James fell off his recent torrid pace in Miami's last game, but the Heat will still go for their fifth straight victory when they visit the Orlando Magic on Wednesday night when Wade sits out again.

James entered Tuesday's home game against Atlanta with a 34.0 scoring average on 70.2 percent shooting (40 for 57) over the previous three games. But the Hawks held the four-time league MVP scoreless for the first 16 minutes before he finished 6 of 13 for a season-low 13 points in a 104-88 victory.

With Wade being held out to rest his troublesome knees as a precaution for the second straight night Wednesday, the Heat are hoping to get solid all-around contributions once again. Chris Bosh scored 19 points, Mario Chalmers went on a personal 9-0 run in a 39-second spurt of the pivotal third quarter, and Ray Allen scored Miami's first 12 points of the fourth and finished with 17.

"We're very confident in our lineup we got, man," James said. "Those guys continue to play well. They continue to work together and it's great to have a Hall of Famer in that lineup with Ray coming back."

Bosh shot 8 of 9 for Miami, which took control with a 15-2 run in the third and rested all of its starters for the entire fourth quarter.

"We just try to get out in transition, let our defense be our offense most of the time and keep working from there," Chalmers said.

The victory improved the winning percentage of Heat coach Erik Spoelstra (268-137) to .6617. If Miami beats Orlando, he would pass Boston Celtics legend Red Auerbach (.6619) on the NBA's career list among coaches with more than 400 games.

James, who is two free throws shy of 5,000 in his career, has failed to reach 20 points three times this season, but the Heat (8-3) have won each of those games. At least four Miami players have reached double digits in those contests.

The Magic (4-6) have had a four-day layoff since dropping their fourth in the last five games, 108-100 against Dallas on Saturday.

Orlando had cut the deficit to 91-87 with about six minutes remaining when rookie guard Victor Oladipo had two of his career-worst nine turnovers on consecutive possessions to stop the Magic's momentum.

"I just have to perform better in those circumstances," said Oladipo, who turned it over four times in the final period. "It was a close game and I have to learn to execute in those times. Most of it, really, is on me."

Oladipo played the entire fourth quarter. Starter Jameer Nelson had a good game with 15 points, one assist and one turnover, but sat on the bench over the final 17 minutes.

"If we didn't have those turnovers down the stretch, maybe the game could have been different," coach Jacque Vaughn said. "We need to learn to value the basketball whether it's the first quarter or the fourth quarter."

Arron Afflalo led the Magic with 25 points and Nikola Vucevic added 16 and eight rebounds. Oladipo had 10 points and six assists.

Orlando has dropped five consecutive meetings with the Heat, the most recent a 105-93 loss at Miami on April 17 in the 2012-13 regular-season finale.

James missed that game to attend to a personal matter but likely would have sat anyway to rest for the playoffs. He shot 30 for 66 and averaged 25.0 points in the previous four victories.

Sign up for Yahoo Fantasy Football
View Comments (3)