Magic-Heat Preview

The Associated Press

LeBron James and the Miami Heat easily got by the struggling Orlando Magic in the opener of this home-and-home set.

Shifting the series to South Beach could make things all the more difficult on Jacque Vaughn's club.

Miami is hoping to get Dwyane Wade back Saturday night as it goes for a sixth straight win and seventh in a row over the Magic, who try to avoid opening 0-5 on the road.

The Heat (9-3) have won eight of nine over the last three weeks, including their last five by an average of 17.8 points. One night after beating Atlanta 104-88, Miami posted its most lopsided victory of the season Wednesday, 120-92 at Orlando.

James led the way with 21 points, seven assists and six rebounds while James Jones, who started in place of Wade again, scored 17 while going 5 of 7 from 3-point range. Chris Bosh added 18 points for Miami, which was able to rest its starting five in the fourth quarter for the second consecutive game.

"That's a good ball team and they were really good," said Vaughn, whose club has dropped five of six. "They got some off turnovers in transition, and then you get LeBron being effective in the post and having to react to him. He's a willing and a really good passer and they have guys who can shoot the basketball. He found 'em and they made shots."

The Heat shot 51.4 percent, going 15 of 24 from beyond the arc. They also held a 40-25 rebounding edge and scored 30 points off 24 Magic turnovers.

Orlando (4-7) which kept double-teaming James, figures to come out with a different defensive scheme this time around.

"At the end of the day, LeBron does command some attention at times," said Magic guard Arron Afflalo, who stayed hot with 30 points. "Maybe next game we'll have a little more individual pride just to see how well we can do defensively."

James has now scored in double figures in 507 straight games, one shy of matching Kareem Abdul-Jabbar for the fifth-longest streak in NBA history.

Aside from trying to contain James, the Magic could have their hands full with Wade, who is expected to return after resting his ailing knees over the last two games. Wade is averaging 28.1 points in 32 career matchups versus Orlando, his highest mark against any team.

The Magic have dropped six straight in the series and four straight in Miami. Orlando is off to its worst road start since opening a franchise-worst 0-10 in 1990-91, its second season.

Nikola Vucevic, averaging 14.9 points and a team-leading 10.9 rebounds, was limited to a season-low six and six after getting into foul trouble. The Magic are 1-6 when he scores 16 or fewer.

"We're not happy we lost by this many points and we want to do better than we did tonight the next time we play them," said Vucevic, who had averaged 21.7 points and 21.0 boards in his previous three meetings against Miami. "We just have to play better."

The Magic will surely be looking for better play from rookie Victor Oladipo, who scored a season-high 20 but committed eight turnovers in his first start. Oladipo has 17 turnovers in his last two games is averaging a league-high 4.4.

Afflalo is averaging 30.3 points on 60.5 percent shooting over the last three games, while going 15 of 22 from 3-point range.

"He's trying to set a tone for us," Vaughn told the team's official website. "Not only is he doing it with actions, but with the way he is carrying himself and producing on the floor.''

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