Tonight at 8PM in Air Canada Centre in Toronto, the Raptors will host the Miami Heat in the third of four contests this season. They split the first two, with the Heat winning, 96-76 on November 8th, and losing 108-94 on December 18th. Both games were played in Miami. They'll close the series back in Toronto on March 12th.
The Heat are playing in the second game of a five-game road trip. They started it out on Wednesday night with a 106-87 loss to the Washington Wizards. After tonight's matchup, they'll continue on to visit the Chicago Bulls on Monday, the Brooklyn Nets on Tuesday, and the Milwaukee Bucks on Friday.
The Raptors are in the third game of a seven-game homestand. They defeated the Nets, 112-100 on Monday and the Boston Celtics, 115-109 on Wednesday. After playing Miami, they will stay home to host the Los Angeles Clippers on Sunday, the Wizards on Tuesday, the New York Knicks on Thursday, and the Detroit Pistons on Saturday.
Miami dropped a 108-94 decision to the Raptors in their last meeting a week prior to Christmas behind 30 points from DeMar DeRozan. Kyle Lowry scored 21 and Luis Scola had 20, while Bismack Biyombo picked up 15 rebounds. The Heat were paced by 21 points, six rebounds and five assists from Dwyane Wade. Gerald Green scored 20, Goran Dragic had 18 with five assists, and Hassan Whiteside picked up 13 rebounds and five blocked shots.
I'm not worried about when this team is on edge, after we've lost a couple or lost a close one or anything like that. I'm worried about when we win three or four in a row, maybe when we get to five, God willing. A team can beat you but they have to beat you at your best. And we weren't even close to our best tonight. - Bosh
Raptors HQ has more on Toronto.
Miami's last contest would see the Heat lose 106-87 to the Wizards. Bradley Beal had 18 points, John Wall had 18 with 10 helpers, Nene Hilario scored 16 with six rebounds and five steals, and Marcin Gortat had 15 with 12 boards. Chris Bosh led Miami with 18 points, while Luol Deng scored 16 with eight rebounds.
When it's another guy going down it's just tough. Two weeks ago we were going into a West Coast road trip really trying to prove ourselves with a whole roster, and now we've got five or six or seven guys out, and it's just a tough pill to swallow. - Bosh
For news on the Wiz, go to Bullets Forever.
Toronto's last game would see the Raptors shoot 55% in a 115-109 win over the Celtics. DeRozan scored 34 with six assists, Jonas Valanciunas had 19 points on perfect nine-for-nine shooting with 12 rebounds, and Luis Scola scored 18 in the victory. Isaiah Thomas had 21 points with 10 assists in a losing effort for the Celtics. Avery Bradley pitched in with 19 points, Kelly Olynyk had 18 and Jae Crowder scored 17 with five rebounds.
We have lost our defensive mojo a little bit. Defending the three ... that has been a concern for the past two or three games now. - Raptors coach Dwane Casey.
Celticsblog has more on Boston.
Hassan Whiteside (hip), Dwyane Wade (shoulder), Luol Deng (eye), and Goran Dragic (calf) are all day-to-day. Beno Udrih (neck) may play tonight. Chris Andersen (knee) is expected back no earlier than January 31st, and Josh McRoberts (knee surgery) is out indefinitely.
Anthony Bennett (back) is day-to-day, and DeMarre Carroll (knee surgery) is out indefinitely.
Miami Heat: 23-20, .535, on pace for 44-38. Second in the Southeast Division, tied for sixth in the Eastern Conference, tied for 12th in the NBA. Last Five: L-W-L-L-L. Playoff Odds: 53.8%
Toronto Raptors: 27-15, .643, on pace for 53-29. First in the Atlantic Division, second in the Eastern Conference, tied for fifth in the NBA. Last Five: W-W-W-W-W. Playoff Odds: 99.8%