Miami Meltdown: Heat Blow 24-Point Lead In 99-96 Loss To Magic

The Miami Heat blew a 24-point lead as the Orlando Magic stormed back in the second half to win, 99-96.

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Magic Vs. Heat Final Score: Orlando Mounts Incredible Comeback To Stun Miami, 99-96

The Orlando Magic looked down and out at the half, trailing the Miami Heat by 18. But the Magic wouldn’t go away, using strong defense in the third to cut the lead to nine before completing the comeback in the fourth and hanging on for a win. It was a Miami meltdown, to say the least. The comeback was the second-largest in franchise history for the Magic as they clawed back from down 24 at one point to stun the Heat.

The Magic opened the third quarter on an 18-2 run, turning that 11 point deficit into a seven-point lead. Miami had no semblance of an offense as LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh went completely cold from the field.

The Heat did try to mount a late comeback, but J.J. Redick went to the line and hit both of his free throws to put the Magic up three with just eight seconds to go. After a wild scramble that saw Chris Bosh miss a three badly before James missed a wide-open three for the tie just before the buzzer.

James and Wade scored 29 and 28 points respectively, but scored a combined two points, both by Wade, in the fourth quarter. Chris Bosh was a non-factor for the Heat, scoring 13 points and grabbing five rebounds. James added six rebounds and four assists, all of which came in the first three quarters. The Miami bench was missing in action, as well, combining for just 11 points.

Dwight Howard finished with a double-double, scoring 14 points and grabbing 18 rebounds, after putting together a strong performance in the fourth quarter. Jason Richardson shouldered the scoring load with a team-high 24 points. Jameer Nelson added 16 points and seven assists for the Magic. Ryan Anderson and Gilbert Arenas came off the bench and chipped-in solid contributions, scoring 15 and 11 points, respectively.

The Magic moved to 40-22 with the win while the Heat fell to 43-18. More importantly, Orlando picked up a game on the Heat and sit just 3.5 games behind Miami in the Southeast division.

For more on the Heat, check out SB Nation's Peninsula Is Mightier. For more on the Magic, check out SB Nation's Orlando Pinstripe Post.

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