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Game #23: Toronto Raptors (11-15) vs. Miami Heat (11-11)

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It isn't often that I don't watch a game.  Even when I know the results, and sometimes those results aren't pretty, I'll still watch.  This time, however, I wasn't upset that I forgot to set my DVR before heading north to Jacksonville for the Dolphins game. 

I kept track of the game for a while on my cell, and even without actually seeing any live game action, two free throws and six turnovers in the first quarter told me all I needed to know.  I saw (or read) about Memphis getting to the foul line 17 times before the Heat took their first foul shot, which came with just seconds left in the 1st quarter. 

I had a bad feeling before the game even started though, as I first logged onto Twitter and saw that the Heat's starting small forward was going to be Yakhouba Diawara.  Where the hell did that move come from?  Spoelstra said after the game that he went with Kooba because he wanted to keep Dorell Wright within his role as the first perimeter guy off the bench, which I can understand. 

But we have guys like James Jones and Daequan Cook who could use the minutes much more then Diawara.  I think they need to give Cook as many minutes as they can spare because the only way he is going to get better and get out of this funk is by playing through it.

I'm hoping that the Heat use this game as some serious motivation.  Immediately following the embarrassing home loss there was a team meeting that was about thirty minutes long.  When asked about what was said in the meeting, D-Wade said that he kept quiet and only listened. 

Udonis Haslem wasn't as quiet; talking to his teammates about the lack of effort they've put fourth of late, as well as the teams poor record at home.  Bet you didn't realize that the Heat were under .500 at home (6-7) and over .500 on the road (5-4).

Looking at tonight's opponent, the Raptors are coming off of one of their better defensive efforts of the season, holding the Houston Rockets to just 88 points on 37% shooting in a 13-point victory.   Keep an eye on Chris Bosh, Heat fans.  We all know how much Pat Riley loves this guy, and more then likely is going to go after him more then any other free agent. 

That being the case, just imagine what it will be like having this amazingly talented and athletic big guy dominating the post area and moving guys around in the paint, creating all kinds of space and lanes for Dwyane Wade to maneuver and score.  Yea, I know that its way to early to assume anything...but if Bosh has any kind of inkling about playing in Miami with his boy D-Wade, you better believe that Pat Riley will make it happen. 

GAME NOTES

  • After going 2-2 on a tough west coast road trip, the Heat are 0-2 so far on their 6-game homestand. 
  • Toronto gives up the 2nd most points in the league, allowing 108.0 points/game but are 6th in the league in scoring, putting up 104.0 points/game. 
  • On the other hand, Miami is right smack dab in the middle of the pack at points given up, surrendering 98.6.  They aren't as good offensively, ranked 22nd in the association by putting up 97.0. 
  • The Raptors are a perfect 8-0 this season when holding their opponent under 100 points. 
  • The 37 points surrendered by the Heat in the 1st quarter against Memphis on Sunday was the second most points given up in a quarter this season by Miami.  The most?  So glad you asked...it was the 43 points scored in the second quarter of the Heat's visit to Toronto on November 20th
  • I wouldn't expect to see Quentin Richardson back in the lineup yet.  He is officially listed as doubtful with his strained right hamstring. 
  • For Toronto, guard Jose Calderon (hip) and forward Reggie Evans (foot) are both out.

Tuesday night tipoff from the AAA is set for 7:30.