The Magic continued to live up to their tag of party poopers for the playoffs chasing/qualifying teams as they stunned they Heat tonight at the Amway Center, Orlando in a very close game. The Magic have nothing more to play for this season as they have been already eliminated from the playoffs race quite a while back. But that is not stopping them from beating teams that have something to play for and spoil their seasons. The loss for the Heat is a crucial blow for their chances to end the season in the top 4 of the Eastern Conference in order to get the home advantage going into the playoffs. The Magic are 34-45 and are 11th in the Eastern Conference. The Heat meanwhile are 46-33 and are tied for the 5th spot with the Hornets. They are now one full game behind the Celtics and the Hawks, who are tied for the 3rd spot in the Eastern Conference.
Nikola Vucevic was the star man for the Magic tonight as he recorded 29 points, 6 rebounds, and 2 blocks. Evan Fournier also had a huge game as he recorded 28 points, 7 rebounds, and 7 assists. Elfrid Payton had a double-double of 16 points and 10 assists along with 3 rebounds. Victor Oladipo added 13 points, 4 rebounds, and 2 blocks. Rookie Mario Hezonja added 9 points, 4 rebounds and 3 assists off the bench. The Magic offense continued to improve towards the end of the season as they shot a great 52% from the field tonight.
Dwayne Wade led the scoring for the Heat as he ended the game with 17 points and 5 assists. Goran Dragic ended the night with 15 points, 8 rebounds, and 6 assists. Joe Johnson had 13 points and a rebound. Hassan Whiteside continued his double-double streak with 13 points and 16 rebounds along with 4 huge blocks, coming off the bench. He continues to lead the league in blocks. Rookie Josh Richardson added 13 points, 5 rebounds and 4 assists off the bench. Gerald Green added 11 points off the bench. Luol Deng ended the game with a double-double of 10 points and 10 rebounds. The Heat struggled at the Free Throw line tonight as they shot only 52% from the foul line compared to the Magic’s 75%.
The Heat, who were on a 2 game winning streak started off the game well as they picked from where they left off in the last win. They made a 5-0 run at the end of the 1st to take it, 27-19. Gerald Green unleashed some great 3s during the last stretch of the quarter. That lead didn’t last for long as the Magic came out swinging in the 2nd as they made a 4-0 run early to cut the deficit and a 11-2 run a bit later to take a 1 point lead themselves. Evan Fournier scored 9 points during the latter run. The Magic took the quarter 34-28 and went into the half, trailing 55-53. The 3rd quarter saw the lead change hands for 7 times as neither team was able to pull away and establish a lead. The Heat opened with a 5-1 run to extend the lead to 6. The Magic replied with a 12-2 run to take a 4 point lead. The quarter was very closely contested and the Magic just edged it 26-25 and went into the final quarter, trailing 80-79. The 4th quarter also looked to be going the same way as the 3rd until the Magic made a huge 7-2 run with the score at 85-86 to take a 4 point lead at 92-88 with 8 minutes to go. The Heat took a long time to recover from this run and tie up the score. Fournier was once again the main man as he scored 5 points during this run. Another key play during the final quarter was when Whiteside got a technical for going after the refs as a foul on him didn’t get called. With the score at 99-97, Payton duly completed the ensuing 3 point play to make it 102-97 with 3 minutes to go. But the Heat didn’t give up and tied things up at 109-109 with a 5-0 run as the game clock was running out with a Joe Johnson 3. This was the 11th time that the game was tied. Vucevic then completed a great dunk to make it 111-109. Johnson then failed to make the tying shot and Deng gave away the game as he lost the ball to Marble from an inbound pass after an offensive rebound from the Johnson shot mentioned earlier. Fournier then went to the line and made 1 of his 2 shots to make it 112-109 with 2 seconds left. The Magic closed out the game, 112-109.