Miami Heat vs. Orlando Magic Preseason Game Recap: Heat Ride Scorching Start to Burn Magic

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(Miami, FL) — The Miami Heat got off to a fast start Tuesday night, and by early in the third quarter, it became clear that this one was not going to be close.

Even without Heat center Hassan Whiteside in the lineup, who missed the game due to the death of his great-grandmother, the Heat made quick work of the Orlando Magic, pummeling them by a final score of 107-77.

Yet again, the Heat displayed a well-balanced offensive attack that helped them score 100 points or more for the fifth time in six preseason games. Without Whiteside down low, Miami relied on their high-scoring backcourt to lead the way. Goran Dragic tallied 17 points and five assists. Meanwhile, Tyler Johnson and Dion Waiters continued to make the battle for the starting shooting guard spot even more compelling. Johnson and Waiters scored 15 points apiece and both shot above 50 percent.

At one point, head coach Erik Spoelstra had all three guards out on the court together, which may occur at times throughout the regular season to maximize the Heat’s scoring potential.

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“I feel like everybody can handle the ball and everybody’s a playmaker,” Dragic said of the three-guard rotation. “When you put pressure on one side and you swing the ball (to the other side), immediately the other guy is attacking so, you know, it’s really hard to defend that.”

Though the guards certainly did their things Tuesday night, Miami’s big men displayed their value as well. Willie Reed, who started at center for Whiteside, looked as comfortable as could be down low. He scored 16 points and nabbed 11 rebounds. The power forward battle for Miami also got a bit more interesting as James Johnson and Derrick Williams each made their case for the position.

Williams showed his versatility by scoring eight points, which included nailing a three-pointer from long-range. He also grabbed eight rebounds. Johnson did his part by scoring eight points and notching three blocks in just nine minutes. As of now, it’s still unknown who will start at the four-spot by opening night, but Spoelstra likes what he sees thus far.

“It’s still preseason so the roles have not been clearly, officially designed yet,” Spoelstra said of the power forward battle, “but we’re heading in the right direction.”

The Heat were also without small forward Justise Winslow Tuesday night and Wayne Ellington took advantage by scoring four three-pointers and leading the team in plus-minus with a +33.

As for the Magic, things could not have looked much more out of sync. While the Heat were able to get five different players to double-digit scoring, only Serge Ibaka and Evan Fournier were able to score double-digit points with 15 and 10, respectively.

Orlando struggled on the glass too with big men Bismack Biyombo and Aaron Gordon getting the night off. Magic big man Nikola Vucevic did manage to play in this one, but after the game admitted his team still has a long road ahead.

“We obviously didn’t play as we wanted to. It wasn’t a good showing out there, a lot of mistakes on both ends of the floor,” Vucevic told reporters. “(There was) just a lot of standing around, so we have a lot of work to do.”

It also didn’t help that the Magic missed 17 of their 19 shots from beyond the arc. However, Magic head coach Frank Vogel and his team will get another chance at the Heat when they face off in their first game of the regular season in Orlando on Oct. 25. Before that, the Heat still have two remaining preseason games to play while the Magic have just one left.
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Grant is a life-long Miami Heat fan hailing from Fort Lauderdale, Florida. His earliest Heat memories involve Eddie Jones going off on opponents and hoping he'd become the next Michael Jordan. When that didn't pan out, a guy named Dwyane Wade came to Miami and Grant's fandom turned to obsession. He graduated with an English degree from the University of Central Florida and currently resides in Los Angeles.