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HHH GameTime Preview: Heat and Raptors without their key big men for Game 4

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Critical game four of the Miami Heat and Toronto Raptors will test both coaches ability to adjust match-ups on the fly as unforeseen injuries leave huge holes in their rim protection.

Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

The Miami Heat will try to salvage their season in Miami on Monday evening, because Wednesday's game will be played in the hostile confines of Toronto Raptors' Air Canada Centre. If the Heat can win Monday's game, the series boils down to who can win 2 more games first.

The first two contests were marred by 41 Heat turnovers, while the remaining ones feature a "Back To The Future" look for Miami, because they will probably start Amar'e Stoudemire at center. He began the majority of games after the All-Star break at the 5 position, due Chris Bosh's absence and a previous Hassan Whiteside injury.

Starters: advantage Miami Heat, as they are comfortable with their projected starting five.

Bench: disadvantage Heat, because without Whiteside and Beno Udrih, the reserves are a mixed bag of streaky, untested, slower, or rookie players, who could produce unpredictable results.

This time Hassan Whiteside will not be available for his call of duty off the bench. A new yet-playoff-unproven trio of Tyler JohnsonDorell Wright and Briante Weber are available should coach Erik Spoelstra choose to use them.

Screens set by Jonas Valanciunas will be missed, "One of the bigger impacts for Toronto — besides losing Valanciunas’ interior presence — will be on the team’s guards, who won’t benefit from the screens they were getting or Miami’s pre-occupation with a seven-footer." DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry may find getting to the rim more difficult without the quality picks Jonas made.

A key match-up will be putting Justise Winslow back on Kyle Lowry, who went on a tear because he got no Justise. Sans Jonas Valanciunas, the Raptors have little else besides the guards to spearhead their offense. The Heat can afford to go all out using Winslow, Tyler, Richardson, Weber to stop the Raptors' back-court duo from ruining the Heat's date with the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Last season, reserve Andre Iguodala -- not Stephen Curry -- was named as the NBA Finals MVP with his clutch play against the Cleveland Cavaliers. Will the Heat find their MVP on the bench or will Dwyane Wade go 2006?

The Heat need to win three games in a row versus the Raptors, because two of the next three will be staged within the friendly confines of AmericanAirlines Arena.

Game Notes

  • Wade is just eight points short of tying Earvin Johnson (3,701) for 13th place on the NBA all-time post-season scoring list.
  • Deng is shooting 51% from 3-point range, which is highest in Heat post-season franchise history.
  • Raptors are 6-4 in the post-season, despite being outscored by an average of 93.3-94.1 over ten games and shooting at 28.6% clip from beyond the arc.
  • Heat have yet to lose the last eleven times they scored over 100 points in a playoff game.
  • Raptors franchise all-time records still held by Chris Bosh: points (10,275), rebounds (4,776), blocks (600), minutes (18,815), FGM (3,614), FTM (2,997), turnovers (1,126), win shares (62)

Key Tweets

Key Video

Winning in Toronto may be unusually difficult next time around.

Was Wade also disrespectful to his teammates by not standing alongside them in a display of unity during the singing of the Canadian national anthem?

Probable Starters


  • Luol Deng
  • Joe Johnson
  • Amar'e Stoudemire
  • Dwyane Wade
  • Goran Dragic


  • DeMarre Carroll
  • Patrick Patterson
  • Bismack Biyombo
  • DeMar DeRozan
  • Kyle Lowry

Broadcast Info

  • Tip-Off: 8:00 pm
  • TV: TNT
  • Radio: 790 The Ticket
  • Canadian Radio: Sportsnet 590
  • Sirius 207