The Miami Heat played another strong game from start to finish en route to a 115-91 blowout victory against the Orlando Magic on Sunday night. Without Rodney McGruder, who was a late scratch due to illness, Tyler Johnson stepped into the starting lineup and scored 20 of his 25 points in the third quarter. Justise Winslow had another impressive outing starting in place of Goran Dragic with 22 points on 9-12 shooting with six rebounds, five assists and four steals.
Making the victory extra special, coach Erik Spoelstra also celebrated his 500th career win as the team climbed back to .500 at 16-16 with their league-leading fifth straight win. Miami also leapfrogged the Magic in the standings and are now tied with the Charlotte Hornets for the division lead and the sixth and seventh spot in the East. Their much improved defense lately has now held their opponents to under 100 points for the sixth consecutive game.
The Heat controlled the game from the start, effectively utilizing their zone defense at opportune times and several players consistently stepping up to make big plays, whether it was Dwyane Wade with a silky move to the basket or Bam Adebayo tipping an offensive rebound back out for a Josh Richardson 3-pointer. Orlando had little answers, with Nikola Vucevic and Aaron Gordon unusually quiet against the Heat, but they did cut Miami’s lead significantly to end the first half.
That’s when Tyler Johnson took over with a mix of outside shots and penetration in the third quarter and the game quickly turned in the Heat’s favor once again with the lead ballooning to 26 points. The home team went on another big run early in the fourth quarter to cut the deficit to eight points, but once again the Heat responded with an 11-0 run that sealed the win, their first victory against Orlando after three tries this season.
Miami will next host the Toronto Raptors on Wednesday night.