After Dwight Howard finally forced his way out of town over the summer, the Magic were left for dead by nearly every observer in the NBA. Instead, a feisty group lead by first-year head coach Jacque Vaughn has Orlando at 12-13. Ironically enough, they currently have a better record than the Lakers, Howard's new team.
The Magic are currently on a four-game winning stream, beating the Warriors, Bobcats, Wolves and Wizards over the last week. Even with Al Harrington and Hedo Turkoglu on the disabled list, they've been winning games behind a veteran core of Arron Afflalo, J.J. Redick, Glen Davis and Jameer Nelson.
The Heat, meanwhile, are coming off home-court shellackings of the Wizards and Wolves. They play in Dallas on Thursday night in a rematch of the 2011 NBA Finals.
As it stands now, Orlando is only one game out of a potential first-round series against Miami, something no one would have predicted two months ago.