The last home game of the season wasn’t a particularly difficult one for the Miami Heat, as they cruised to victory over their in-state rivals, the Orlando Magic. In addition to beating the Magic tonight, the Heat have also claimed the season series with Orlando 3-1.
The Heat, who led throughout the game, pulled away after going on a 13-3 run to end the third quarter, which built the Heat lead up to 20 points. Magic center Nikola Vucevic cited the inability to catch up with the Heat’s scoring runs a key factor in the team’s loss.
Vucevic was a member of a Magic starting five that included five players from five different countries. Vucevic (Switzerland), Elfrid Payton (United States), Evan Fournier (France), Ersan Ilyasova (Turkey) and Mario Hezonja (Croatia) made up that unique starting line up.
The line up was a result of both Victor Oladipo and Aaron Gordon being out due to concussions. Whether or not Oladipo or Gordon will return for the last few games of the season is unknown.
Notable performances form the game include Fournier’s 21 points, a team high for the Magic while Hassan Whiteside’s 18 points and 15 rebounds along with Goran Dragic’s 19 points helped lead the Heat to victory.
This game did have playoff implications as the Heat are aiming to end up as the No. 4 seed in the East Conference. They are currently behind the Boston Celtics who, while having the same record, have the tiebreaker over Miami.
Coming up the Magic will host the Milwaukee Bucks and the Heat will travel to Detroit to face the Pistons.