The Miami Heat and the Orlando Magic find themselves going in opposite directions at this point in the season. While the Heat are in the top five in most power rankings, the Orlando Magic find themselves dropping towards the rear of the power rankings thanks to an injury to forward Glen Davis. On ESPN.com, John Hollinger has the Heat ranked at No. 6, down a spot from last week. The Magic, on the other hand, are ranked No. 27.
As for Marc Stein, he has the Heat ranked at No. 4, down a spot from the previous week. Stein wonders if the Heat are focusing on the wrong things to defend:
The Heat uncorked a vociferous defense of Dwyane Wade after his one-game suspension for kicking out at Ramon Sessions, then played precious little D in dreadful weekend L's at Detroit and Milwaukee. So much for the notion that going on the road would get the champs properly plugged in.
As for the Magic, Stein has them ranked at No. 25, disappointed at how 2012 ended for the upstart team from Orlando:
Think we all knew losing Big Baby Davis and his nightly 16 and 8 would be bad news for the Orlando Cinderellas. Yet I can't say that I remember hearing anyone, entering the final weekend of 2012, suggesting it would be lose-in-Washington-and-then-get-humiliated-at-home-by-Toronto bad.
On Pro Basketball Talk, Kurt Helin has the Heat ranked at No. 4, down one spot from last week. Despite the weekend when they lost to the Detroit Pistons and the Milwaukee Bucks, Helin thinks that the big picture is still encouraging for the Heat:
Sloppy lost weekend where they fell to Detroit (after leading by 17) and the Bucks. We're going to see that this year from the defending champions, stretches where they take a mental vacation. It doesn't mean much big picture.
Helin ranked the Magic at No. 23, down two spots from the previous week, making special mention of the loss of Davis:
They have lost five in a row since Glen Davis went down with a shoulder injury. That's no coincidence, they miss what Big Baby did on both ends, but particularly on the defensive side.
On NBA.com, John Schuhmann has the Heat ranked at No. 4, up one spot from last week. Schuhmann believes that the Heat can play good defense, but it is still rather inconsistent right now:
We'll put any thoughts that the Heat are back to playing great defense on pause. They held down the Thunder's No. 1 offense on Christmas, but got smoked in Detroit and Milwaukee over the weekend. After injuring his right shoulder against OKC and sitting against the Bobcats, Ray Allen probably should have stayed home. He shot 4-for-19 against the Pistons and Bucks.
As for the Magic, Schuhmann ranked them No. 24, also commenting on the loss of Davis:
Time to start the Big-Baby-for-MVP campaign. The Magic have dropped five straight since losing Glen Davis to a sprained left shoulder, and the schedule has nothing to do with it. They've lost to the Raptors twice, the Jazz (who were previously 5-12 on the road), the Hornets and the Wizards. Davis was holding together the defense, which has been terrible during the losing streak.