Using NBA 2K20 to predict Miami Heat vs. Orlando Magic

The Miami Heat hit the road to take on division and in-state rival Orlando Magic off a long rest. What’s NBA 2K20 say on the trinity matchup of the season?

This third matchup between the Miami Heat and Orlando Magic is a make or break game in the season series. With both teams winning on their home floor, this third matchup will determine if the Heat will reach one of the goals set for them by fans at the beginning of the season: Win this season series as well as the series against the Atlanta Hawks, who have the second-worst record in the NBA and three losses to Miami already.

If you’re reading this and scratching your head at the title, here’s why: We just saw this exact matchup last Monday night at the Heat’s house. The scheduling gods frown upon the Heat yet again as they served up a back to back Monday and Tuesday, followed by three days rest.

That sounds great! The only problem with that is their next game is against the opponent they just played to kick off the back to back and they had four days rest, not playing anyone since they last played the Heat.

The injury report for Saturday’s game looks promising. Kendrick Nunn, who missed the last three games due to an Achilles injury, is listed as probable while everyone else listed are players that fans still expect to be out like Justise Winslow and G Leaguers.

On the Magic side of things, Evan Fournier is listed as questionable as he’s been visually hampered by a back issue the last couple of games. For the purposes of the sim though, I left him in.

I bumped up the Heat’s rotation to 11 players by adding Dion Waiters and continued to distribute the minutes to mimic the action each player saw in Tuesday night’s loss to the Celtics. Afterward, I headed over to the coaching tab and moved up Coach Spoelstra’s run zone tendency from 5-percent to 50-percent.

While on this pane, I finally decided to change more of the coaching tendencies. I designated the team’s top three scoring options to be Bam Adebayo, Jimmy Butler, and Goran Dragic in that order.

I also changed Bam Adebayo’s secondary position to power forward since Meyers Leonard‘s positions look that way. Lastly, I edited Tyler Herro, Jimmy Butler, and Bam Adebayo’s vitals to allow them to initiate the offense.

NBA 2K20 had Head Coach Erik Spoelstra’s defensive rating an A while having his offensive rating at a D. I’ve put up with this for way too long, so I changed his defensive rating to a B-.

I came about that rating by sorting all 30 NBA teams by points per game, then divided 30 by the number of letter grades that are available from F all the way up to A+ (13). This came out to about 2.3 teams being in each grade level with Miami hovering around a B to B-.

If you want to see the simulation for yourself, check out the latest video on my YouTube channel. There, I’ll be showing you the adjustments I made.

Starting Lineup

Miami Heat

Point guard-Kendrick Nunn

Shooting guard-Duncan Robinson

Small forward-Jimmy Butler

Power forward-Bam Adebayo

Center-Meyers Leonard

Orlando Magic

Point guard-Markelle Fultz

Shooting guard-Evan Fournier

Small forward-Aaron Gordon

Power forward-Khem Birch

Center-Nikola Vucevic

Outcome

Miami Heat 94, Orlando Magic 105

This particular simulation was difficult to watch at best. The Heat started out doing their thing, with an excellent 11-2 run to start the game en route to a 26-23 lead headed into the second quarter.

It was all downhill from there though. Miami could not seem to stop anybody in a Magic uniform in the second quarter, giving up 31 points to close out the half.

The Heat was only down 5 points at halftime, but you could just feel it. Those of you who have been watching these sims know this team mirrors it’s real-life counterpart pretty closely.

And those that follow the Heat know, games like this tend to leave butterflies in your stomach as you can sense the silly loss coming. That was me in front of my PS4.

Once again, the same issue prevails from the last few sims. While the Heat was a perfect 5-for-5 at the stripe at the break, they had already given up 18 free throw attempts to the Magic.

Luckily Orlando needs to improve in that area as they only made 11 of them. The Heat was winning the rebounding battle by a good margin, their turnovers were down (8), but they fouled 16 times and couldn’t seem to keep possession of the ball for long.

And then it happened, with a five-point lead, the Magic started the second half with a 10-3 run and that pretty much sealed the deal. The Heat made the fourth quarter competitive by locking down on defense but couldn’t seem to score the ball either, only managing to win the final quarter by one point. The Miami Heat left the Amway Center with their second loss to the Magic and no possible way of winning the season series.

Player stats

Miami Heat

Goran Dragic – 21 points (5 3-pointers), 2 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal

Kendrick Nunn – 17 points, 1 rebound, 1 assist, 2 steals, 1 block

Bam Adebayo – 15 points, 7 rebounds, 3 assists, 3 steals

Duncan Robinson – 10 points, 2 rebounds, 3 assists,1 block

Jimmy Butler – 10 points (4-12 FG), 2 rebounds, 3 assists, 6 steals, 2 blocks

Orlando Magic

Nikola Vucevic – 24 points (7-7 FT), 18 rebounds, 5 assists,1 block

Aaron Gordon – 16 points, 4 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal, 1 block

Markelle Fultz – 14 points, 5 assists

Evan Fournier – 12 points, 3 rebounds, 4 assists, 1 steal

Michael Carter-Williams – 12 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists, 3 steals, 1 block

Our digital Miami heat team is almost spot-on in comparison to the real thing. They almost always give up a lead, they’ve improved their turnover problem, but now can’t stop fouling, bigger teams give them issues, and Jimmy Butler fills up the box score without making shots from the field.

What is life? This is not sustainable.

The Heat need help, but I don’t think it comes in the form of any player they can get at the deadline. This young team just needs to complete this season to get another year of experience and swing the hammer hard in free agency/trades this summer. We’ll see if real reality and virtual reality are in symmetry on Saturday, but we sure hope not.