Dec. 31, 2018
Four takeaways from Heat vs Magic
Heat climbing up East standings
Don't look now but Miami is now tied with the Charlotte Hornets for the sixth seed in the East standings. After struggling for the early part of the season, Miami's now riding a five game winning streak. The primary reason for the Heat's current streak has been it's defense, which lately has held teams to under 100 points. On Sunday, the Heat limited the Magic to 91 points on 41.4 percent shooting.
Since December 8th against the Clippers, the Heat has been playing 2-3 zone defense against opponents. Unlike most 2-3 zone defenses, the Heat uses a man-to-man scheme to throw off their opponents. They used it in the final minutes of Saturday's win over Milwaukee, and it slowed their offense down.
Tyler Johnson's hot third quarter
There's something about playing at Amway Center that gets Tyler Johnson going. On Sunday, Johnson scored 20 of his 25 points in the third period, most points by a Heat player in a quarter this season. His 20-point quarter was just two points shy of his career-high for a quarter, 22 points in 2017, which was also in Orlando.
Johnson's career-high in points is 32, which came against the Magic in a 2016 game at Miami.
In his third consecutive start as the Heat's point guard, Winslow had arguably his best all-around game of the season. Winslow recorded 22 points, six rebounds, five assists and four steals in 30 minutes of action. He also shot a blistering 75 percent from the field. The 22 year old was hitting threes, midrange pullups, and layups.
It appears Justise Winslow has finally found a role that fits him.
McGruder a late scratch
Heat guard Rodney McGruder was listed as a starter before tipoff, but when the game started he was replaced with Tyler Johnson. The Heat then announced McGruder was dealing with stomach illness. McGruder had started every game for the Heat up until Sunday, a run of 31 consecutive starts. Bam Adebayo is now the only Heat player to play in all 32 games.