Mateo’s Hoop Diary: Heat clobbered in Orlando by the mystical ones

No one could blame coach Erik Spoelstra if he channeled Pat Riley, angrily entering the locker room, then sparking a dart. And if he followed suit with homage to the Godfather’s epic, off-color tirade by getting in the players’ faces with a death stare, calling them gutless, perhaps it would be inspirational. Opponents don’t see the Heat on the schedule but rather a fresh meat cut.

His ancient point guard, Kyle Lowry, is unplayable because of his freelancing on defense and inability to pressure the rim. And the playmaking project, Nikola Jović, was useless against the bulk of the ascending Orlando Magic.

Allegedly, management likes its team.

In the first quarter, no Heatle registered more than a field goal as the unit scored 19 on five of 20 attempts. Open trays were missed, bad shots attempted and not enough force was put on the paint.

Orlando’s Paolo Banchero beat Jimmy Butler from the wing to the cup for a layup, canned a baseline jumper behind a pindown and swished a fader over Haywood Highsmith. The rest of the Magic made seven of 18 buckets, but it held a three-point advantage heading into the next frame.

In the second quarter, Bam Adebayo scored off pick and pop, a putback and a 10-foot fall-away jumper over Wendell Carter Jr.. Tyler Herro splashed two consecutive triples on each wing. And Caleb Martin dunked on the break and pierced the lane for a buzzer-beating layup.

At halftime, the Heat was down 46-48. Seven offensive rebounds for the Magic led to 11 second-chance points. The visitors had only three on its ledger for extra tries and were behind 6-14 in points via turnovers. And Adebayo was high Heatle with a dozen on the scorecard on 50% shooting with six boards.

The third quarter featured too much ball-watching and indecisiveness. As a result, the squad made one of seven triples against solid defense after Butler made two and was overwhelmed for two shot clock violations out of its five turnovers.

On the other side, Franz Wagner hooked over Adebayo in transition, hit a seven-foot floater and made a left-wing trifecta in Jović’s face following his overhelp on a lane drive. Carter rolled to the rim for two dunks. And Suggs produced seven more points.

In the fourth quarter, the mystical ones devoured the Heat like the “Prince of Pizza” (Charles Barkley) inhaling some pies.

Carter hounded Adebayo, forcing him into a miserable mid-range step-back shot and two more difficult jumpers. Markelle Fultz was on Herro’s hip when he entered the lane, causing a turnover and Suggs locked and trailed him perfectly, influencing a miss after the catch at close range.

On defense, Lowry, Martin and Herro were dusted for inside finishes. The baseline was conceded when blitzing Fultz up top, which burned the Heat for an underneath layup by F. Wagner. And Carter added five extra points.

The Heat lost its third game in a row, 87-105, getting beat on the boards by seven and scoring just 36 paint points, seven on the break, 10 on second chances and 15 via turnovers. Adebayo had 22 on his score sheet, with 11 rebounds and seven assists.

The Magic logged 54 in the interior, 12 on the break, 23 from additional opportunities and 29 after turnovers. Banchero had 20 points and 10 rebounds.

At the postgame presser, Spoelstra said, “[The Orlando Magic] were very physical tonight. They took us out of a lot of our normal relief actions and kind of blew up our movement, and we didn’t react with force and detail… missed shots, turnovers, that’s kind of what you are looking at.”

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