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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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”

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”