Magic-Heat Preview

The Associated Press

The Miami Heat would figure to have little left to play for in their regular-season finale. They've already secured their best finish in franchise history as well as home-court advantage throughout the playoffs.

But they can accomplish one more thing with a win in Miami on Wednesday night - their first season sweep over the Orlando Magic in eight years.

The Heat, having won 36 of 38, will also be looking to pick up even more momentum heading into the postseason, though Wednesday's lineup may not exactly resemble the one that will be competing for a second straight NBA title.

LeBron James missed Wednesday morning's shootaround to tend to a personal matter and is not expected to play.

James (hamstring), Dwyane Wade (knee), Shane Battier (knee) and Udonis Haslem (ankle) are all listed on the team's injury report, and none played Monday at Cleveland. Mario Chalmers and Chris Bosh also sat out. None of the injuries are believed to be serious, with most just getting an extra breather before the playoffs per coach Erik Spoelstra's request.

It still didn't keep Miami from claiming a 96-95 win over the Cavaliers. Norris Cole turned in 16 points, 11 rebounds and nine assists and stripped the ball from Kyrie Irving with two seconds left to preserve the victory.

"Everybody had a hand in this win," Spoelstra said. "That's what we wanted to do. We're here. We might as well compete, and made the most of it."

At 65-16, Miami has already clinched the best record in franchise history, surpassing the previous mark of 61-21 in 1996-97.

"Sixty-five is a big number," Spoelstra said. "I've been part of championship teams and teams that had great success in this league that have never been able to win this many games."

While the Heat are guaranteed to finish with the league's best record, the Magic (20-61) are tied with Charlotte for the worst.

They've lost 11 straight on the road and 15 of 17 overall after a 102-84 home loss to Chicago on Monday. The team hasn't won on the road since March 4, against New Orleans.

Another defeat would give Orlando its second-worst record in franchise history, only edging the 1989-90 expansion team's mark of 18-64.

"It shows us how much better we have to get, how much harder we have to play," said rookie Maurice Harkless, averaging 14.9 points over his last 15 games. "You know we're a young team. We've got to learn how tough it is playing against these playoff teams. Hopefully in the future we'll be a playoff team."

Despite the struggles, Harkless, along with second-year starters Nikola Vucevic and Tobias Harris, seem to provide a promising core for the future.

Vucevic has posted eight straight double-doubles, averaging 18.1 points and 15.5 rebounds, after missing five games with a concussion. He recorded 12.4 points and 11.5 rebounds per game through the first 68 contests.

Meanwhile, Harris is averaging 17.2 points in 26 games since being acquired from Milwaukee, and has four straight games of 20-plus points.

The Heat won the season's first two meetings by a combined three points before a 108-94 victory in Orlando on March 25. They haven't swept the season series since 2004-05.

Vucevic missed the last meeting but was a major force in the other two, averaging 22.5 points and 25.0 rebounds.

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