ORLANDO -- The Heat's need for more production from the center position couldn't have been more obvious on Wednesday night at Amway Center.
Dwight Howard dominated the Heat inside, going for 25 points and 24 rebounds, and opened up the perimeter for the Magic's long-range shooters. Orlando attempted a franchise record 42 three-point attempts, making 17 for 40.5 percent. The result was a 102-89 loss for the Heat to begin a difficult six-game road trip.
The Heat trailed by as many as 17 points in the first half but cut the lead to three points by halftime and then briefly only trailed by one point to begin the second half. The Heat would get no closer. Miami managed just 11 points in the third quarter with both LeBron and Wade going scoreless in the period.
Seriously, when has that ever happened?
Never thought I'd say this, but the absence of Mario Chalmers seemed to completely throw off the Heat's game. Chalmers missed the game with a sore left hand after getting his finger caught in a jersey during the third quarter of the Heat's Tuesday night victory against the Cavaliers. Chalmers was inactive on Wednesday and his left ring finger was tapped together with his left middle finger.
Chalmers is day-to-day and might not be available for Friday's game at Washington. Norris Cole received the first start of his career against the Magic but wasn't his normal fearless self. Cole only attempted eight shots (making eight) and finished with nine points.
The Heat was outrebounded 48-38, including 17-9 on the offensive glass.
Interesting that on the same day Oscar Robertson said the Heat needs a center to average 12 points and 10 rebounds to be a complete team, the Heat's centers only combined for two points and nine rebounds.