Five takeaways from Heat-Magic: Add another really bad loss to Heat’s season

Orlando Magic guard Shelvin Mack, center, drives past Miami Heat guard Goran Dragic, left, and center Bam Adebayo (13) during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Monday, Feb. 5, 2018, in Miami. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

MIAMI — The Heat have had plenty of bad losses this season — the Kings, Hawks and Nets come to mind.

But Monday’s 111-109 loss to the Magic at AmericanAirlines Arena is up there. Orlando (16-36) entered with the league’s worst record and 4-21 over its past 25 games. Continue reading “Five takeaways from Heat-Magic: Add another really bad loss to Heat’s season”

What to know about tonight’s matchup: Heat look to bounce back vs. Magic after bad home loss to Nets

MIAMI HEAT VS. ORLANDO MAGIC

When: Saturday, 7 p.m.

Where: Amway Center, Orlando

TV/Radio: Fox Sports Sun/WAXY 790AM, WAQI 710AM (Spanish)

Records: Orlando 12-24, Miami 18-17

Line: Heat favored by 1 point

Orlando Magic forward Jonathan Isaac (1) is unable to block the shot by Miami Heat guard Tyler Johnson (8) during the second half of an NBA basketball game, Tuesday, Dec. 26, 2017, in Miami. The Heat defeated the Magic 107-89. (AP Photo/Joel Auerbach)

PROJECTED STARTING LINEUPS

Heat

F: Josh Richardson

F: Kelly Olynyk

C: Hassan Whiteside

G: Tyler Johnson

G: Goran Dragic

Magic

F: Jonathon Simmons

F: Aaron Gordon

C: Bismack Biyombo

G: Evan Fournier

G: Elfrid Payton

Scouting report: The Heat will be without Rodney McGruder (left tibia surgery), Okaro White (left foot surgery), Dion Waiters (sprained left ankle), James Johnson (right ankle bursitis) and Justise Winslow (strained left knee) against the Magic. … The Magic will be without Jonathan Isaac (sore right ankle), Terrence Ross (sprained right MCL) and Nikola Vučević (fractured left hand). … Orlando snapped a nine-game losing streak with a 102-89 victory over the Pistons on Thursday. … Magic guard Evan Fournier is averaging 18.5 points on 51.9 percent shooting in two games against the Heat this season. … Miami is coming off of a disappointing 111-87 home loss to the Nets on Friday. … Heat point guard Goran Dragic is averaging 12.7 points on 31.1 percent shooting from the field and 9.1 percent shooting from 3-point range in three games since returning from a left elbow injury. … The Heat and Magic have split their season series 1-1 so far. The Magic won the first matchup 116-109 in Orlando in the season opener, and the Heat got the win in the teams’ second meeting 107-89 in Miami on Tuesday.

[Five takeaways: Heat embarrassed by Nets, falling behind by 38 before losing, 111-87]

[Heat rookie Derrick Walton Jr. is running out of NBA days on his two-way contract]

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Five takeaways: Hassan Whiteside returns, but it was his teammates that carried Heat to win over Magic

Orlando Magic guard Mario Hezonja (8) defends against Miami Heat center Kelly Olynyk (9) during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Tuesday, Dec. 26, 2017, in Miami. (AP Photo/Joel Auerbach)

MIAMI — The Magic entered on an eight-game losing streak and Heat center Hassan Whiteside returned from injury.

It was supposed to be easy. But it wasn’t.

The Heat (18-16) rallied from a 10-point third-quarter deficit to defeat the struggling and shorthanded Magic 107-89 on Tuesday at AmericanAirlines Arena. Miami closed the game on a 60-32 run to make it look easier than it was against Orlando (11-24). Continue reading “Five takeaways: Hassan Whiteside returns, but it was his teammates that carried Heat to win over Magic”

Tonight’s matchup: Miami Heat looking to pay back Orlando Magic after losing 3-of-4 last season

Mario Hezonja of the Orlando Magic shoots over James Johnson of the Miami Heat during a game at American Airlines Arena last February. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

MIAMI HEAT VS. ORLANDO MAGIC

When: Wednesday, 7 p.m.

Where: Amway Center, Orlando

TV/Radio: Fox Sports Sun/WAXY 790AM, WAQI 710AM (Spanish)

PROJECTED STARTING LINEUPS

Heat

F: Kelly Olynyk

F: Josh Richardson

C: Hassan Whiteside

G: Dion Waiters

G: Goran Dragic

Magic

F: Evan Fournier

F: Aaron Gordon

C: Nikola Vucevic

G: Terrance Ross

G: Elfrid Payton

Scouting report: The Heat open the season in Orlando for the second consecutive year. Miami won the season opener a year ago, 108-96, but then lost three straight to the Magic, including a 136-130 double overtime heartbreaker in Miami. … This marks the sixth time the Heat have played the Magic in the season opener, more than any other opponent. The Heat are 2-3 in the previous five games. … Hassan Whiteside averaged 19.3 points and 16.5 rebounds in four games against the Magic last season. Goran Dragic averaged 18.0 points. … The Heat will be without Rodney McGruder, who underwent surgery Tuesday to repair a stress fracture in his left left leg. Okaro White (shoulder) is questionable. … Nikola Vucevic always plays well against the Heat and continued to last season averaging 20.3 points and 13.0 rebounds. Vucevic is averaging 18.1 points and 10.9 rebounds in 20 games against Miami in his career. Evan Fournier also averaged 20.3 points against Miami last season. …The Magic will be without Adreian Payne (hand).

[Spoelstra: Rodney McGruder ‘will want to come back sooner than anybody in the history of that injury’ after successful surgery]

[Hassan Whiteside ready to take that next step to becoming true leader, All-Star]

[Anthony Chiang’s Miami Heat predictions: Josh Richardson will have a breakout season]

[Tom D’Angelo’s Miami Heat predictions: Hassan Whiteside will be recognized as one of the league’s best]

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Five takeaways: Heat’s struggles against Magic continue in painful loss with two games vs. Cavaliers up next

ORLANDO — There’s one good thing that came from Friday’s game for Miami — the Heat have no games remaining against the Magic this season.

Orlando continued its recent dominance over Miami with a 110-99 win Friday at Amway Center. With the victory, the Magic took the season series over the Heat 3-1 — the first time Orlando has won the season series outright since 2009. Continue reading “Five takeaways: Heat’s struggles against Magic continue in painful loss with two games vs. Cavaliers up next”

Where would an all-time Heat roster rank compared to other NBA teams?

Shaquille O'Neal and Alonzo Mourning helped the Heat win the 2006 NBA title.
Shaquille O’Neal and Alonzo Mourning helped the Heat win the 2006 NBA title.

The Miami Heat have made a sizable impact on the NBA landscape since joining the association in 1988, but how would a roster of the Heat’s all-time best players stack up against other teams’ historic collections?

PointAfter, a data-driven sports-research website, created rosters of the 12 best players that have played for each NBA organization and ranked the teams based on the win shares that the players on the roster accumulated over their time with that franchise. The player were chosen based on “a combination of All-NBA team nods, All-Defensive teams earned, All-Star appearances, championship rings and overall contributions to the organization,” according to PointAfter.

The Miami Heat’s starting five features a quintet of familiar faces: Tim Hardaway at point guard, Dwyane Wade at shooting guard, LeBron James at small forward, Chris Bosh at power forward and Alonzo Mourning at center. It should come as no surprise that the “Big Three,” with their championship runs and award-winning seasons, are well represented among the Heat’s hypothetical starting five.

The Heat’s all-time roster boasts a deep bench consisting of Shaquille O’Neal, Glen Rice, P.J. Brown, Eddie Jones, Rony Seikaly, Ray Allen and Udonis Haslem. O’Neal likely lost out on a starting spot due to the brevity of his stay in Miami, while the face of the franchise Udonis Halsem’s longevity no doubt helped earn him a roster spot.

As a whole, the Heat’s all-time roster combined for a total of 549.3 win shares, placing them 21st out of 30 teams. Miami finished ahead of the Toronto Raptors, Minnesota Timberwolves, Los Angeles Clippers and in-state rival Orlando Magic, among others.

Not surprisingly, the Boston Celtics feature the greatest all-time roster, led by Hall of Famers Larry Bird and Bill Russell, PointAfter says. Rounding out the top five behind the Celtics are the Los Angeles Lakers, Philadelphia 76ers, Utah Jazz and San Antonio Spurs. Despite the efforts of Hall of Famer Michael Jordan, the Chicago Bulls ranked only seventh on the list.

For more, read PointAfter.

NBA schedule 2016-17: 10 most important games for the Miami Heat

Goran Dragic #7 of the Miami Heat takes a foot to the chin as he is defended by Jeff Teague #0 and Al Horford #15 of the Atlanta Hawks at Philips Arena on February 19, 2016 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Goran Dragic #7 of the Miami Heat takes a foot to the chin as he is defended by Jeff Teague #0 and Al Horford #15 of the Atlanta Hawks at Philips Arena on February 19, 2016 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

Many experts are suggesting the Miami Heat could be fighting for one of the final playoff spots in the Eastern Conference in 2017, and as a result every game takes on greater significance.

From winning the games they are expected to win, to handling their divisional opponents, the Heat will need to capitalize on every opportunity to pick up wins, both at home and on the road.

Following Thursday night’s release of the 2016-17 NBA schedule, here are the 10 most important games on the Heat’s docket:

Nov. 10, 2016: Heat vs. Chicago Bulls

Beyond the Dwyane Wade element of the Heat’s home matchup against the Bulls, the game will be played between two teams likely to be on the fringe of the playoffs. If both teams were fighting for a postseason spot at year’s end, holding court at home could help Miami ease its worries about potential tie-breakers.

Nov. 15, 2016: Heat vs. Atlanta Hawks

The Atlanta Hawks finished second in the Southeast Division last season with the same record as the Heat. Though Atlanta lost center Al Horford in free agency, they did add Dwight Howard. Miami will need to protect its home court against a Hawks team many are picking to finish ahead of them in the standings.

Dec. 12, 2016: Heat vs. Washington Wizards

The Wizards struggled to a 41-41 record last season, good for fourth in the Southeast Division. But they added Trey Burke via trade and are expected to be better as Bradley Beal gets healthier. Much like their season series with the Hawks, the Heat will need to protect home court against a solid divisional foe.

Like the Heat, the Los Angeles Lakers will have many new faces in 2016-17. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Like the Heat, the Los Angeles Lakers will have many new faces in 2016-17. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

Jan. 6, 2017: Heat @ Los Angeles Lakers

The Lakers are coming off of a 17-win season and — although they have good, young talent and added veterans like Luol Deng and Timofey Mozgov — they are unlikely to improve significantly next year. Though the Lakers are not an Eastern Conference team, this is a game that Miami should be expected to win, therefore making it important that they do so.

Jan. 25, 2017: Heat @ Brooklyn Nets

The Nets won just 21 games last year and, despite adding Jeremy Lin, are expected to bring up the rear of the Eastern Conference. The Heat won three of four matchups against Brooklyn last season, but did drop a home game to the Nets just after Christmas. The Heat will need to handle Brooklyn, who are perceived as a lesser opponent, on the road.

Feb. 11, 2017: Heat @ Philadelphia 76ers

Much like the Nets, the 76ers are coming off of a disappointing campaign. Only Philadelphia fared much worse, winning only 10 games last year. The Sixers seem as though they are in a perpetual rebuilding mode, and the Heat need to take advantage of every matchup they have against the young and developing squad. While Ben Simmons may grow into one of the league’s top stars one day, the Heat will look to capitalize on his growing pains.

Mar. 3, 2017: Heat @ Orlando Magic

Another important divisional matchup, the Heat will need to win up the road in Orlando if they hope to remain near the top of the Southeast. The atmosphere isn’t as hostile in Orlando as in several other NBA cities, meaning that the Heat will need to capitalize. The Magic are an improved team, having added both Bismack Biyombo and Serge Ibaka to their frontcourt. Nikola Vucevic also traditionally plays well against Miami.

Goran Dragic and the Miami Heat will have several important matchups with the Charlotte Hornets during the 2016-17 NBA season. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Goran Dragic and the Miami Heat will have several important matchups with the Charlotte Hornets during the 2016-17 NBA season. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

Mar. 8, 2017: Heat vs. Charlotte Hornets

Charlotte, another divisional opponent, finished last year with the same record as Miami, and the two teams even met in the first round of the playoffs. Winning at home against the Hornets will be imperative for the Heat, who will be hard-pressed to win on the road at the Time Warner Cable Arena. The Hornets are expected to again compete for a playoff spot in the East and will represent a home challenge for Miami.

Mar. 28, 2017: Heat @ Detroit Pistons

The Heat won one of their two games last season in Detroit, losing the first by 23 points. Miami will have to at least duplicate that feat of winning at least one road game against a team that they will likely be jockeying for position with in the Eastern Conference playoff race.

The New York Knicks have added both Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah from the Chicago Bulls this offseason. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
The New York Knicks have added both Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah from the Chicago Bulls this offseason. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)

Mar. 31, 2017: Heat vs. New York Knicks

The Knicks made several moves in the offseason to bring in veteran talent. While it is no guarantee that their new additions stay healthy, on paper, the Knicks legitimately did improve their roster. Winning in New York — especially on the back end of a home-and-home series — will be a challenge for a young Miami team, meaning that they will need to take advantage of home court. Sending a message at AAA against a potential playoff team could pay dividends for the Heat down the road.

2016 NBA Draft: Three moves that get Miami Heat’s attention

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As far as their own team is concerned, the Heat were fine going into tonight’s NBA Draft without any picks. That confidence is in part because they nailed last year’s draft with the pick-ups of Justise Winslow and Josh Richardson.

The Celtics finished with the same record as Miami last year and got a head start on 2016-17 with Thursday's move. (Getty Images)
The Celtics finished with the same record as Miami last year and got a head start on 2016-17 with tonight’s addition of Jaylen Brown. (Getty Images)

Still, any gain by the competition is a loss for Miami. As it sat idle during the draft, several teams it’s trying to outrun made what appear to be significant improvements. Here are the three that have the biggest impact on the Heat:
Continue reading “2016 NBA Draft: Three moves that get Miami Heat’s attention”

Orlando shooting: Miami Heat change Twitter logo to honor massacre victims

The Heat are showing their support for the Orlando victims on social media. (Getty Images)
The Heat are showing their support for the Orlando victims on social media. (Getty Images)

The massacre at an Orlando nightclub Sunday shook the country, and professional sports teams have been vocal in their support for the victims. Click here for The Post‘s coverage from Orlando.
Continue reading “Orlando shooting: Miami Heat change Twitter logo to honor massacre victims”

Luol Deng (thigh injury) optimistic about playing vs. Orlando Magic

Luol Deng has played all but eight games this year for the Miami Heat. (Getty Images)
Luol Deng has played all but eight games this year for the Miami Heat. (Getty Images)

Luol Deng’s versatility and emergence as a scorer have been absolutely vital to the Heat’s survival without Chris Bosh, and they can’t afford to go without him long.
Continue reading “Luol Deng (thigh injury) optimistic about playing vs. Orlando Magic”