The NBA in Florida is Finally Exciting!
Lynne Sladky/AP Photo
If you find yourself in Florida today, you’re in a state where professional basketball is once again relevant and not because the Warriors are in town.
The Orlando Magic and the Miami Heat face off tonight with the coveted 8th seed in the East on the line. Whoever wins this seed will lose to the Bucks in the first round anyway, but we have had a few bad years in Florida, so leave us alone.
Sure, there are still a few games left to go, but this one is so important for both teams. Just based off the eye test you can notice each team is playing like the season depends on it, and that’s because it does. As a Magic fan, I can’t stop thinking about tonight, so I think it is a good idea to get into the factors that will play a major role in getting a win tonight.
For starters, the Magic absolutely needs to win tonight. They are currently a game behind the 8th seed with seven more games left after tonight, and more likely than not, Orlando will only win three of those seven. On the other hand, the Heat has eight games left after tonight; they could simply go four and four by just playing the numbers game, so the Magic really needs this win tonight.
But how do they do it?
First, they need to get over consistently losing on the road; the Magic is 13 and 22 when playing away from home this year. Luckily, the Heat is not great playing at American Airlines Arena, with Miami holding a home record of 17 wins to 20 loses. So we have the classic bad road team vs. bad home team tonight. Come on Magic! It’s only a four-hour drive down I-4.If you just looked at it as a home game, maybe you could win easier.
I can’t believe I’m saying this after talking crap about this guy just last week, but the Michael Carter-Williams effect cannot be overlooked.
Michael Carter-Williams is playing like he's looking for something longer than a 10-day contract, and the effect he has had on the Magic lately cannot be overlooked. MCW is giving Orlando great bench support behind D.J. Augustin, averaging six points and five rebounds after four games in a Magic uniform. I threw major shade at Carter-Williams in my last piece, and I hope for all our sakes in the Magic fandom he makes me eat those words.
For some reason, Aaron Gordon loves to show off against the Heat. While he averages around 16 points per game this year, that number has jumped up to 20 in three previous meeting with Miami. If he can keep this up, we will rename him Aaron “Has the real Heat” Gordon in Orlando. Oh, and he’s also shooting 75% from three against the Heat this season.
Lastly, the Magic just need to stay hot. They are on a five-game winning streak and absolutely destroyed Philly last night. Over their last five games, the Magic have won by a healthy margin and have played stellar defense. Just by watching that Philly game, you know Orlando wants to get that 8th seed badly. And if they can keep up the pace, they will get closer to securing it with a win tonight.
So if you live in Florida, congratulations on living in a state where your NBA teams not only matter again, but also matter when they play each other!