Tonight, the HEAT host the Toronto Raptors for the third of four meetings this season and the first at the AAA in South Florida. The HEAT won the first two on Toronto's court, 104-95 on November 5th and 90-83 on November 29th. They're opening a quick two-game homestand, closing it out on Tuesday when they face the New Orleans Pelicans. Toronto is in the second game of a three game roadtrip. They started out on Friday by defeating the Washington Wizards, 101-88, and finish up on Tuesday when they visit the Indiana Pacers.
Miami was 12-3 on November 29th the last time these two faced off. They defeated the 6-8 Raptors, 90-83. LeBron James led the way with 27 points on 10-of-17 shooting (including three-of-five from beyond the arc) with six rebounds. Dwyane Wade was the only other Miami player in double figures, scoring 22 points with seven boards, six assists, and four steals. DeMar DeRozan scored 25 with seven rebounds to pace Toronto, while Rudy Gay added 21 points and 11 assists with two blocks. Kyle Lowry added 15 points, while Tyler Hansbrough collected 12 rebounds. Full Recap * Box Score
Erik Spoelstra spoke later about the team, who had won nine in a row at that point, coming together:
It's not about the win at the time. It's about how we 're playing and building those habits and the process of what we're doing.
For more on the Raptors, check out Raptors HQ.
Miami took on the Orlando Magic last night in the first night of back-to-back's, earning a 110-94 victory. Chris Bosh went a perfect nine-for-nine from the field, sharing the team scoring lead with Dwyane Wade as each finished with 20 points and six rebounds. Rashard Lewis pitched in 18 with three steals in a rare start, and LeBron James had 15 points with eight boards and eight dimes on a night where he wasn't quite himself * Full Recap * Box Score
Miami Heat vs Orlando Magic | January 4, 2014 | Full Game Highlights | NBA 2013-14 Season [HD] (via NBACalifornia)
Toronto's last game action was on Friday night against the Washington Wizards. The Raptors won, 101-88 behind a balanced attack which saw five players score at least 14 points. DeRozan scored 20 with five assists, Lowry had 19 with 11 boards and three steals, Patrick Patterson went eight-for-10 off the bench for 18, and Amir Johnson had 17 points and seven rebounds. The Wizards also had five in double figures, led by Nene Hilario's 15. Trevor Booker pitched in 13 rebounds. * Full Recap * Box Score
Toronto Raptors vs Washington Wizards | January 3, 2014 | Full Game Highlights | NBA 2013-14 Season (via NBACalifornia)
Lowry spoke afterward about what it takes to win:
Winning is contagious, and we're making winning plays. It's not about making extra passes. It's about winning and how you win is by making extra passes, so everyone is making extra passes, so everybody wants to win. It's not the fancy passes.
For more on the Raptors, go to Raptors HQ.
GameTime: 6PM ET
TV: LEAGUE PASS, TSN2, TSN2, SunSpM
Radio: NBA Game Time Audio, CJCL, WAXY
Season Series: Third of four contests. Miami won the first two, both in Toronto. They'll finish out the season series in Miami on March 31st.
All-Time Series: Miami is 45-21 entering tonight's action, a .684 winning percentage.
Miami HEAT: 25-8, .757, on pace for a 62-20 record. First in the Southeast Division, second in the Eastern Conference, fifth in the NBA. Last five: L-W-W-L-W , Playoff odds: 99.99%
Toronto Raptors: 16-15, .516, on pace for a 43-39 record. First in the Atlantic Division, fourth in the Eastern Conference, 12th in the NBA. Last five: W-W-W-W-W. Playoff odds: 99.4%
Chris Bosh is third on Toronto's all-time leaderboard with 509 games played. He leads the team with 10,275 points, 4,776 rebounds, and 600 blocks. He ranks sixth with 397 steals and with 1,115 assists.
HEAT Backup guard Roger Mason played 23 games for the 2003-04 Raptors, averaging four points, 1.2 boards and one helper per contest.
With two more blocks, Chris Bosh will move into ninth on Miami's all-time list, passing John Salley with 233.
Ray Allen will tie Otis Thorpe in 20th all-time with his 1,257th game.
Three assists will move LeBron James into a tie for 41st all-time, with Mike Bibby at 5,517.
MPG: LBJ - 36.2, DWade - 33.3, BOSH - 29.7
PPG: LBJ - 25.3, DWade - 19.6, BOSH - 16.2
RPG: LBJ - 6.8, BOSH - 6.4, DWade - 4.6
APG: LBJ - 6.6, Rio - 5.2, DWade - 4.9
SPG: DWade - 2.0, Rio - 1.9, LBJ - 1.3
BPG: Birdman - 1.2, BOSH - 1.1, Battier - 0.6
PER: LBJ (1123 minutes) - 29.1, DWade (798 minutes) - 22.6, BOSH (922 minutes) - 19.9, B Eazy (358 minutes) - 18.1, Birdman (504 minutes) - 17.3
MPG: DeMar DeRozan - 38.2, Kyle Lowry - 36.5, Rudy Gay - 35.5
PPG: DeMar DeRozan - 20.9, Rudy Gay - 19.4, Kyle Lowry - 15.7
RPG: Jonas Valanciunas - 8.4, Rudy Gay - 7.4, Amir Johnson - 7.1
APG: Kyle Lowry - 7.5, DeMar DeRozan, Greivis Vasquez - 3.3
SPG: Kyle Lowry - 1.8, Rudy Gay - 1.6, DeMar DeRozan - 1.1
BPG: Rudy Gay - 1.3, Amir Johnson - 1.2, Jonas Valanciunas - 1.1
PER: Kyle Lowry (1131 minutes) - 19.6, Quincy Acy (61 minutes) - 17.5, Amir Johnson (933 minutes) - 16.9, DeMar DeRozan (1184 minutes) - 16.3, Rudy Gay (639 minutes) - 15.3
PG - Mario Chalmers
PF - Rashard Lewis
C - Chris Bosh
SF - LeBron James
SG - Dwyane Wade
PG - Kyle Lowry
PF - Amir Johnson
C - Jonas Valanciunas
SF - Terrence Ross
SG - DeMar DeRozan
Statistics courtesy of basketball-reference.com. Starting lineups courtesy of yahoo.com. Playoff odds courtesy of sportsclubstats.com. Quotes courtesy of NBA.COM.
For more on Toronto, go to Raptors HQ. Check back here later for the GameThread, going live at 5.