- The Miami Heat need a win more than Snooki needs to get tested for skin cancer. After two succumbing losses to past NBA champions Boston Celtics, a lamentable breakdown to the Utah Jazz and the eye opener game of Emeka Okafor’s life and the undefeated Hornets, the Heat could surely use a win for a confidence boost and silencing of the criticism. At least for a few hours.
- What better stage to quench their thirst than a game against the Toronto Raptors, former team of Chris Bosh and currently the owners of the 2nd worst record in the league (tied with Sixers, better only than the 1-9 Clippers)? The Raptors are fresh off their 2nd win in a close game against the Magic in Orlando last night. That encounter was merely part one of the South Florida Tour multiple teams across the league fastidiously take, visiting Orlando first and Miami soon after (Raptors get to do it again Jan 21st and 22nd).
- Opponent facts: Raptors ranks 25th in defensive efficiency and 30th in opponents true shooting % - a great opportunity for the Heat to work on their offensive sets. Andrea Bargnani is the Raps leading scorer coming in at 20.3 PPG with high-flying youngster DeMar DeRozan chipping in 13.1 PPG. After leaving Denver as a role player and spending a year in Europe, Linas Kleiza has come back to claim a starting spot in Toronto.
- Unfortunately the following players are currently out with injuries and are day-to-day: Linas Kleiza (Achilles), Leandro Barbosa (strained shoulder), and David Andersen (flu).
- A useless degree in psychology tells us the Raptors, like the rest of the NBA, will be overly adamant to defeat the media favorite Heat. Jarrett Jack, Bosh’s old college roommate, will be looking for a friendly encounter and hopefully a victory to boast on.
- The Heat should have learned their lesson in taking teams lightly, especially in the 4th quarter (*cough* Jazz *cough*). Miami should look for an early energy boost and continuity-slash-discipline throughout the rest of the game. Athleticism can overwhelm most nights, but consistency conquers. How will Bosh perform against his old team? Does he have the advantage of knowing their tendencies? Or does it backfire as the team is determined to not let their old mate ruin them?
- This is the NBA and any team can win in any given night. If the Raptors come out victorious, prepare for a media Armageddon. You've been warned.
Raptors – Jarrett Jack, Sonny Weems, DeMar DeRozan, Reggie Evans, Andrea Bargnani
Heat – Carlos Arroyo, Dwyane Wade, LeBron James, Chris Bosh, Joel Anthony
When/Where: 7:30 PM EST, American Airlines Arena. Broadcast on Sun Sports.