Heat Go For 10th Straight vs Magic

All the victories the Miami Heat have been accumulating lately are starting to pay off in the standings.

The Heat look to match their longest winning streak from last season and move into a tie for first place in the Southeast Division when they host the Orlando Magic on Sunday.

Miami (36-2) extended its longest winning streak of the season to nine games Friday night with a 103-97 victory over Sacramento.

Oddsmakers have made Heat -7.5 point spread favorites (NBA Odds) for todays game, the over/under has been set at 186 total points (View NBA Sports Books). Our public betting information shows that 74% of bets for this game have been placed on Heat -7.5 (View NBA Bet Percentages).

A 10th straight win would put the Heat in a tie with Washington in the Southeast Division and match their longest winning streak from last season's NBA title run, set from Feb. 12-March 8, 2006.

The Heat have also won 14 straight at American Airlines Arena since a 99-93 loss to New York on Feb. 26. It's their longest streak at home since winning 18 in a row there from Jan. 23-April 5, 2005.

Miami is now 10-2 since Dwyane Wade went down with a shoulder injury, thanks to strong play from a variety of different players.

Veteran guard Eddie Jones hit his first five 3-point attempts Friday and finished with 19 points. He's averaged 16.1 points on 53 percent shooting in his last seven games, hitting double digits in all but one of those contests.

"Guys are contributing all over the place," Jones said. "That's team basketball right there. And we're playing team basketball probably better than anybody right now."

Shaquille O'Neal scored 23 points against the Kings, while Jason Williams finished with 19. Since acquiring O'Neal before the 2004-05 season, Miami is 40-1 at home in February and March.

"How quickly people forget the type of players we've got in this locker room," Heat forward Udonis Haslem said. "We've got guys who've made All-Stars, who've made a lot of money and had great careers in this league and can still make plays. ... And this is the situation they're used to being in."

O'Neal is averaging 27.5 points, 13.5 rebounds and 2.8 blocks in 18 career games against Orlando, where he played his first four NBA seasons. He has missed both meetings this season, though, both of which the Heat lost.

After losing 95-83 at home to Sacramento on Saturday night, Orlando returns to the road, where it has lost five straight and 15 of 17.

The Magic (30-37) are one-half game behind New Jersey for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.

Jameer Nelson led the Magic with 23 points Saturday, but the rest of the starting five combined for only 17 points. Dwight Howard had 12 rebounds, but scored only six points on 2-of-10 shooting.

Orlando was outscored 17-2 to end the third quarter, and 6-1 to start the fourth to fall behind 73-65.

"We've been doing that all season," Magic guard Grant Hill said. "We played good for a quarter or good for a half or maybe good for three quarters, but we can't keep it going for a whole game."

In a 97-68 Magic win over Miami on Dec. 30, the Heat shot a season-worst 34.3 percent from the field and were held to their second-lowest point total of the season.

By: Marc Young - theSpread.com - Email Us

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