LeBron couldn't seem to pierce the Dwight Howard-anchored defense in the second half and the Heat couldn't survive. LeBron carried the team on his back in the early going, accounting for 16 of the team's first 18 points, and then handed the keys off to Dwyane Wade in the second quarter. It was a rare off night for LeBron from the floor.
Wade singlehandedly brought the Heat back into the game in the second quarter, scoring 18 points after the Heat were down by as much as 17 points. He tried to do it again in the fourth but his efforts weren't enough. He looked completely healed from his foot woes, but the team got blown out with him on the bench.
The Heat could have used Bosh for the first three quarters. Bosh could only look on as a 2-on-2 shootout between the Magic and the Heat persisted for much of the game. When he wasn't playing volleyball with himself at the rim, Bosh found pockets in the midrange, but his absence underneath proved fatal on Wednesday.
As Erik Spoelstra likes to say, containing Dwight Howard is never a one-on-one ordeal. Well, then Howard's 25 points and 24 rebounds is on the whole team. As the Heat struggled to bottle up Howard inside, the Magic snipers made them pay by raining from downtown. With the inside-out Magic offense, you have to pick your poison. The Heat failed to stop either.
After a pregame interview in which the Magic owner awkwardly told reporters his plans to keep Howard in Orlando as Howard stood idly nearby, the Magic played inspired basketball. Maybe that's what they needed. Howard and Ryan Anderson were a two-man firing squad on Wednesday as the Heat couldn't lock down the paint or the perimeter.