Reporting Tim Kephart
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ORLANDO (CBSMiami) – The last time the Orlando Magic played the Miami Heat, the AmericanAirlines Arena held its breath as a last-second shot from LeBron James sealed the victory, 97-96. The Heat will face the same Orlando Magic team Monday night looking to extend the team’s winning streak to 27 games.
The Magic team the Heat play will be missing its top two scorers Monday night as Arron Afflalo and Nikola Vucevic are both expected to miss the game. Vucevic will not be missed by the Heat after he torched Miami for 25 points and 21 rebounds in the last matchup between the two teams.
The Heat could use another easy game after blowing out Charlotte Sunday evening. The Heat have had to overcome double-digit deficits in the past four games. Orlando has lost six games in a row giving up an average of 106 points.
The Heat were down 11 early before overpowering league-worst Charlotte 109-77. James led the way with 32 points on 11-of-14 shooting, 10 assists and eight rebounds.
“We’ve been having slow starts,” James said. “But it’s not how we start. It’s how we finish.”
The Heat were without All-Star guard Dwyane Wade on Sunday because of right knee soreness that the team deems as minor. Having him back against Orlando (18-52) would likely provide a jolt since he’s averaged 28.3 points in 31 career meetings.
Wade scored 24 points on 10 of 16 from the field in the latest matchup.
The Heat’s winning streak will be tested in this four-game road trip. After facing Orlando, they’ll visit Chicago and New Orleans before ending the swing Sunday at Western Conference-leading San Antonio.
Right now, Magic coach Jacque Vaughn is just happy that his team is showing some fight since it’s officially eliminated from playoff contention.
“It’s just an unbelievable overall effort from every guy,” Vaughn said. “As a coach you want to be proud of your team and what they’re doing. (Friday’s) effort typifies who we want to be.”
Vaughn may be specifically referring to Maurice Harkless, who had a season-high 25 points and nine rebounds while making 11 of 18 from the floor versus the Thunder.
The forward, the 15th overall selection out of St. John’s in last year’s draft, had 12 points, three boards, three steals and two blocks against the Heat on March 6.
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