ORLANDO, FL - FEBRUARY 08: LeBron James #6 of the Miami Heat hugs Dwight Howard #12 of the Orlando Magic during the game at Amway Center on February 8, 2012 in Orlando, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)
LeBron James and the Miami Heat, winners of their last five by an average of 18.8 points, will host Dwight Howard and the Magic, winners of eight of their last 10, Sunday afternoon.
After scoring just 56 points in a game in January against the Boston, the Orlando Magic, with Dwight Howard trade rumors swirling, seemed like they were ready to roll over and call it a season. They lost four out of their next five games and looked lifeless and listless.
Since that losing stretch, they've won eight of their 10 games and find themselves right in the mix for a home series in the Eastern Conference playoffs. Among those eight victories was a resounding 102-89 win over the Miami Heat and wins over the Indiana Pacers and the Philadelphia 76ers. The Magic's formula — surrounding Howard with dynamite three-point shooters — has worked to perfection as they've barraged opponents from the outside with ruthless efficiency.
Speaking of ruthless efficiency, no one has eviscerated opponents like the Miami Heat recently. They've won five straight since their loss to the Magic, beating teams by an average of 18.8 points in those games. The trifecta of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh has performed at stunningly high levels game in and game out. Despite being surrounded by two All-Stars, the MVP buzz surrounding James seems unavoidable. He's averaged 28 points, 8.1 rebounds, 6.7 assists and 1.7 steals this season, numbers that are unavoidably incredible. He'll look to continue that dominance in a classic revenge game at home.