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Heat reserves get it done in win over decimated Magic

Sportsnaut
Dec 17, 2021; Orlando, Florida, USA; Miami Heat center Dewayne Dedmon (21) dunks the ball during the second quarter against the Orlando Magic at Amway Center. Mandatory Credit: Mike Watters-USA TODAY Sports
Dec 17, 2021; Orlando, Florida, USA; Miami Heat center Dewayne Dedmon (21) dunks the ball during the second quarter against the Orlando Magic at Amway Center. Mandatory Credit: Mike Watters-USA TODAY Sports

Max Strus scored 23 of his career-high 32 points in the first half, Gabe Vincent totaled a career-best 27 points and the Miami Heat took advantage of a decimated Orlando roster, defeating the host Magic 115-105 on Friday for their fourth straight win in the Sunshine State rivalry.

Strus made a career-high eight 3-pointers and Vincent sank four, while Miami converted 19 of 35 triples as a team. P.J. Tucker scored 15 points, former Magic player Dewayne Dedmon finished with 13 points and Kyle Lowry totaled 11 points and a season-high 15 assists.

Franz Wagner (27 points) paced Orlando, which is on a seven-game skid for the second time this season. Gary Harris added a season-high 20 points and Chuma Okeke and Robin Lopez each had 18, also season-highs.

Miami led 93-83 entering the fourth quarter, as Vincent netted 18 third-quarter points.

It was Star Wars Night at the Amway Center, and the Magic were nearly forced to find players in a galaxy far, far away. Orlando had 12 players on its Friday injury report.

Mo Bamba, Terrence Ross, Moe Wagner, R.J. Hampton and two-way player Ignas Brazdeikis were placed into the league’s Health and Safety Protocols.

Six players were sidelined by injury, including leading scorer Cole Anthony (ankle) and rookie guard Jalen Suggs (fractured thumb). The other four — Markelle Fultz (knee), Jonathan Isaac (knee), Michael Carter-Williams (ankle) and E’Twaun Moore (knee) — have not appeared in any games this season.

Wendell Carter Jr., Franz Wagner and Mychal Mulder joined Okeke and Lopez among the five Orlando players not listed on the Magic’s injury report.

Harris returned after being a late scratch on Wednesday due to left hamstring tightness, but Carter Jr. exited during the opening minute of the second quarter on Friday and did not return with a right lower leg injury.

Orlando also announced on Friday that it had signed free agents Aleem Ford, Hassani Gravett, B.J. Johnson and Admiral Schofield to 10-day contracts via hardship exceptions by the NBA. All four are on the current roster for the Lakeland Magic, Orlando’s G-League affiliate.

The Heat came into Friday’s game with six players out — highlighted by leading scorers Jimmy Butler (tailbone), Tyler Herro (quadriceps) and Bam Adebayo (thumb) — including one (Caleb Martin) in protocols.

–Field Level Media