NBA Florida throw-down in Miami

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NBA Florida throw-down in Miami


2010-03-19

The Orlando Magic are feeling pretty good about Vince Carter’s steady performance in recent weeks. If they can get Rashard Lewis playing at that same level, they’ll be ecstatic. Lewis looks to build on his best game of an otherwise awful month Thursday when the Magic - seeking their 10th victory in 11 games - visit the Miami Heat. The Magic are 2-point road favorites at Sportsbook.com, but the Heat have upset on their minds.

Neither Carter (42.5 percent) nor Lewis (42.9) has shot the ball well this season. Orlando (48-21, 35-30-4 ATS) has plenty of other options to compensate for that duo’s struggles, but getting both stars on track could be critical with the playoffs approaching. Carter seems well on his way. The former Rookie of the Year has averaged 19.0 points on 54.6 percent shooting over his last 10 games as the Magic have gone 9-1 and 7-3 ATS.

Lewis, on the other hand, has been completely off his game. He had averaged 4.0 points over Orlando’s previous three games heading into San Antonio’s visit on Wednesday, and coach Stan Van Gundy said his two-time All-Star lacked energy. Orlando travels south and is 19-9 ATS in road games after a non-conference test over the last two seasons.

While Thursday’s meeting is the last of the regular season between the Magic and the Heat, it could be a playoff preview. Orlando is the East’s No. 2 seed, with Miami currently in the seventh slot.

The Heat (35-33, 34-34 ATS) won the first two games of the season series as Lewis struggled, scoring nine points in each game and shooting 25.0 percent. He fared much better versus Miami on Feb. 28 at home. Lewis had 22 points to lead the Magic to a 96-80.

Dwyane Wade has managed 23.3 points on 39.3 percent shooting against Orlando, but he’s elevated his game so far in March to help the Heat get back in the playoff picture. In ninth place after the Feb. 28 loss to the Magic, the Heat have since won six of eight behind 30.3 points per game from Wade. Yet one night before Orlando routed the Spurs, Miami couldn’t deliver against San Antonio. Wade had 28 points Tuesday but his teammates shot 36.5 percent in an 88-76 defeat. Even with the loss, Miami is 5-1 ATS in last six home games.

Sportsbook.com has Orlando as two-point favorites and they are 24-11 ATS when the line is +3 to -3 since last season. Miami has had their problems with teams with offensive format like the Magic and are 18-36 ATS versus clubs who attempt 18 or more three-point shots a game in the second half of the season.

The total is a modest 188.5, the lowest it has been in exactly three years (3/18/07), when oddsmakers had it at 186. This could go either way as Orlando is 14-4 UNDER after scoring 110 points or more and the Heat are 12-3 OVER in March home games over the last two seasons.

This is the opener on TNT at 8:00 Eastern and both teams have been sloppy on Thursday nights with the Magic 1-4 ATS and Miami 5-13 ATS. The StatFox Power Line shows Orlando by 4



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