The Miami Heat will have little time to recover from an embarrassing defeat when they visit the Orlando Magic on Saturday. After winning seven of 10 to match their high-water mark at two games above .500, the Heat were crushed 111-87 by Brooklyn on Friday in the finale of a four-game homestand.
“I‘m speechless about it,” coach Erik Spoelstra told reporters. “I don’t know. We will keep on fighting and digging until we figure it out. I can guarantee you that. ... We have a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde quality to us that’s extremely perplexing. Sometimes we compete at an extremely high level. You can see it, you can feel it. And then we have these games that are unexplainable.” The Magic snapped a nine-game losing streak by defeating Detroit at home on Thursday. Elfrid Payton finished with 19 points, eight rebounds and eight assists for Orlando, which is aiming to win two straight for the first time since Nov. 8-10. Included in the Magic’s nine-game slide was an 18-point setback at Miami the day after Christmas.
TV: 7 p.m. ET, FSN Sun (Miami), FSN Florida (Orlando)
ABOUT THE HEAT (18-17): Josh Richardson scored 19 points and Hassan Whiteside added 17 in Friday’s loss, but their teammates combined to shoot a woeful 25.8 percent. Leading scorer Goran Dragic recorded 11 points on 3-of-12 shooting and is 14-for-45 - including 1-for-11 from 3-point range - in three games since returning from an elbow injury. Wayne Ellington missed all six of his 3-point attempts in the defeat after making 17 over his previous three games, including a 6-for-10 showing in the win over the Magic.
ABOUT THE MAGIC (12-24): Thursday’s win came despite 19 turnovers, including 15 by the starters, and Orlando knows it needs to clean up its act in order to sustain any sort of success. “We’ve just got to admit the problem and try to fix it,” Payton told reporters when asked about the giveaways. Evan Fournier, who missed eight games due to an ankle injury, scored 17 points and added five assists in the win over Detroit after producing 14 points against Miami in his return from the ailment.
1. Magic PF Marreese Speights is averaging 14 points and 5.5 rebounds over 16 minutes in two games since C Nikola Vucevic was lost to a broken hand.
2. Heat SG Dion Waiters (ankle) has missed two straight games and is expected to sit out Saturday’s contest.
3. Miami has won four of its last five on the road.
PREDICTION: Heat 103, Magic 100