Magic-Heat Preview

Associated Press  |  Last updated March 05, 2013
While their winning streak has reached franchise-record status, the Miami Heat remain focused on the next challenge and not their latest accomplishment. The Heat can extend their run to 16 games with a 12th consecutive home victory Wednesday night against the lowly Orlando Magic. Dwyane Wade had 32 points with 10 assists while LeBron James shook off a sore left knee for 20 and 10 rebounds to help Miami (44-14) post a club-record 15th straight win, 97-81 at Minnesota on Monday. "Hopefully we can continue to win," said Wade, who has averaged 28.3 points on 61.8 percent shooting and 6.8 assists in the last six games. "If we don't, hopefully we can get right back on it. That's what we've done all year. We're in a groove. We're playing well and finding ways to win." The Heat have averaged 107.0 points on 51.6 percent shooting while yielding 94.9 per game since their last loss, a 102-89 defeat at Indiana on Feb. 1. "Any time you get an opportunity to set a record, it's great for the organization and the guys involved," James said. "But we want to keep going. We want to keep winning each game by itself. We don't talk about the streak. We just go to the next game and play it out. We look forward to the next one." That collective focus has Miami playing like a team poised to successfully defend its NBA title. But the Heat are also still looking to get better, especially after committing a season-high 24 turnovers and going 5 of 21 from 3-point range Monday. "I don't want our guys focusing on the record," coach Erik Spoelstra said. "I know it's a great thing for our franchise, but we're trying to improve and we can start with that process with a better game on Wednesday." Miami wasn't at its best in its first meeting with Orlando (17-44), getting outrebounded 50-33 and needing overtime to win 112-110 on the road Dec. 31. James had 36 points, 11 assists and eight rebounds, but Magic center Nikola Vucevic had 20 points and an NBA season-high 29 boards while Arron Afflalo added 28 points. The Heat may have an easier time at home, where they've averaged 111.6 points during an 11-game winning streak. It's uncertain if Spoelstra will limit James, who played 35 minutes at Minnesota after tweaking his knee in the third quarter of Sunday's 99-93 comeback win at New York. "My knee responded well from that fall," James said. "I'm blessed. It's nothing really, a little jam when I landed on the floor." Wade should be well positioned to pick up the slack if necessary. He has averaged 32.3 points and shot 53.8 percent in his last 12 home games against the Magic. Afflalo scored five of his 26 in the final 38 seconds Monday to help Orlando snap a three-game slide with a 105-102 win at New Orleans. Returning from a six-game absence due to a knee injury, Jameer Nelson had 15 points and seven assists as the Magic shot 49.4 percent and rallied from 17 down to win for just the fifth time in 36 games. "This means a lot, being down by as many points as we were and going on to win," Nelson said. Magic forward Tobias Harris is averaging 16.8 points in six games since being acquired from Milwaukee last month. He averaged 4.9 in 28 games with the Bucks.
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