ORLANDO, Fla. -- The countdown to the NBA regular season is now in its final stages for the Miami Heat and Orlando Magic.
Though it's clear after their final preseason matchup Wednesday night that both teams could use a few extra days to prepare for their Christmas Day openers.
The Magic showed some late-game toughness to secure a 104-100 victory on Wednesday night, but needed a furious comeback to erase a 14-point halftime deficit. The Heat played well early before slowing in a forgettable second half.
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"I don't think it was that we didn't show life (early), we didn't make shots," Magic coach Stan Van Gundy said. "... I thought we had good life in the second half."
Whether it was just the injury bug or something else, the rust definitely showed for both sides early on.
James badly missed on a pair of free throws in the opening minutes, including an air ball on one attempt.
Both James and his teammates were able to settle down, however, with James and Wade each scoring to push the lead to as many as 23 en route to the halftime advantage.
Orlando missed its first 12 shots from the field overall and its first 13 3-point attempts. The Magic regrouped to make 8 of its final 14 shots from beyond the arc.
The matchup of division rivals did have a small dustup late in the third quarter when Richardson was called for a technical after he was caught delivering a shoulder into James' chest. The contact came after the pair collided while running down the court.
Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press
The Heat attempted 40 free throws in the 1st half, making 29...
They attempted that many in only SIX of 82 games last season.
Orlando's opponents attempted that many only THREE times last season.