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NBA Playoffs Game 6 Preview: Heat faced with elimination game at home vs Raptors

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Both teams are hobbled, but the Heat must win tonight to force a Game 7 back in Toronto.

Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports

On this Friday the 13th, the Miami Heat face the terrifying prospect of being eliminated in the NBA Playoffs if they can't come through with a home victory against the Toronto Raptors tonight.

Several players from both teams could be out of action or limited in their play. Hassan Whiteside has already been officially listed as out for tonight's game with a sprained right MCL (his third straight missed game) and Luol Deng is questionable with a bruised left wrist. For the Raptors, Jonas Valanciunas remains out with a sprained right ankle and DeMarre Carroll is questionable with a left wrist contusion. DeMar DeRozan has been bothered by a hand injury but that didn't stop him from matching a career playoff-high with 34 points in Game 5 and converting on all 11 of his free throw attempts. He combined with Kyle Lowry to score 59 points, 14 rebounds and five steals.

Getting off to a good start is critical for the Heat, with the team quickly facing a 0-9 hole at the start of Game 5 and digging themselves a bigger hole with a 20-point deficit by the second quarter. Where the offense will come from largely depends on the efforts of starters Joe Johnson, Goran Dragic and Deng (if available) in support of Dwyane Wade, who has given it his all in this series. Miami has won 11 straight postseason games when scoring 100+ points.

Miami is 4-2 at home in this year's playoffs and the Raptors are 2-5 all-time in possible series-clinching games, including their recent Game 7 victory in the first round against the Indiana Pacers -- their first playoff series win since 2001 and first ever in a seven-game series. The Raptors are also 1-3 in Game 6 scenarios in their franchise history.

According to Miami's team notes for the game, the Heat have won their last five elimination games at home, the longest current streak in the NBA and most since the L.A. Lakers (2008-2012). Erik Spoelstra has a 7-1 record when facing elimination at home, second best all-time in such scenarios with a minimum of eight games.

GAME DETAILS:
Toronto @ Miami // 8:00 PM EST
TV: ESPN // Radio: 790

Probable Starters
Goran Dragic PG Kyle Lowry
Dwyane Wade SG DeMar DeRozan
Joe Johnson SF DeMarre Carroll
Luol Deng PF Patrick Patterson
Amare Stoudemire C Bismack Biyombo

Keys to the Game

1. Getting off to a solid start offensively.

2. Cutting down turnovers/unforced errors.

3. Moving the ball and getting several players involved in the offense.

4. Limiting the backcourt duo of DeRozan and Lowry.

For more on the Raptors, visit RaptorsHQ.

Come back and join us for the GameThread before tipoff and while you wait for the game, don't forget to enter our contest to win an autographed Justise Winslow jersey!