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Game #44: Toronto Raptors (13-30) vs. Miami Heat (30-13)

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Following their rough outing against Atlanta and the longest layoff between games so far this season, the Miami Heat take back to the court tonight when they host the Toronto Raptors.  D-Wade and co. will be facing a Raptors team on the 2nd night of a back to back. They played in Orlando last night and lost 112-72, so we'll get a good idea of the character of this Raptors team when we see how they come back the night after a 40-point loss. 

The game was actually a lot closer then the score would indicate.  Toronto was down by just 4 points at the beginning of the 3rd quarter but they only scored 31 points in the 2nd half and were outscored 39-15 over the final 12 minutes.  They have been going through some tough times of late with wins proving to be pretty difficult to come by.  Currently the Raptors have lost 5-straight, including all 4 on their current 5-game road trip, but it only takes one to get things rolling in the right direction.

Toronto will need guys like Andrea Bargnani to step up and play up to their potential.  It's been a fairly consistent season for Bargnani who is usually good for around 20 points, but he's had a rough week.  In the Raptors three games since Monday he has scored just a total of 36 points (11, 14 and 11), shooting just 25.4% from the field (13-of-51).  On the season Bargnani ranks 6th in the Eastern Conference in points, putting up 21.5 points per game.

The Heat will likely be without Chris Bosh for the 2nd straight game as their starting power forward is nursing a sprained left ankle.  It's not surprising to me that Miami is being cautions and keeping Bosh out because the timing is actually pretty good for him to miss time.  Tonight is the Heat's first game in four nights and after this one they are going to be off for another five nights, so there is ample time for Bosh to get better without missing much game time. 

GAME NOTES

  • Miami is 15-5 at home while Toronto is 5-18 on the road. 
  • Eddie House is averaging 13.3 points off the bench in his last 3 games. 
  • While LeBron James and Chris Bosh have been hurt lately, D-Wade has done what he can to pick up the slack, averaging 28.2 points over his last 5 games. 
  • The Heat has gone 1-4 in games that any of the Big 3 has missed.  Wade and LeBron have missed two games each and Bosh has missed one. 
  • Toronto starting 2-guard DeMar DeRozan is averaging 18.8 points in the month of January.
  • Udonis Haslem (foot) remains out for the Heat while Chris Bosh (ankle) is doubtful. 
  • For the Raptors, Reggie Evans (foot), Leandro Barbosa (hamstring) and Sonny Weems (back) are all out.  Linas Kleiza (knee) is listed as day-to-day.

Tipoff from the AAA is set for 7:30.  Tonight we may be hosting a cross-blog Open Game Thread, welcoming the readers of SB Nation's Toronto Raptors blog Raptors HQ.  It will be a nice way to interact with some nice fans of an opposing team and see how the Heat look from an outsider's perspective.  They will be made aware of our Community Guidelines, as everyone is held to the same standards while at PIM.