Game Day Preview: Raptors Look to Cool Heat Down

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It’s game day folks and your Toronto Raptors are hosting the Miami Heat. Through their last 10 games, Miami is 7-3, meaning that they’re not playing around and are likely to be a serious threat come playoff time.

After recently acquiring Joe Johnson, the Heat are one of the deepest teams in the league and the Raps cannot take it easy on them tonight. The boys from the Six will be tested throughout the 48 minutes they’re on the hardwood. Let’s take a look at Cage’s keys to the game.

Lock-down Defense

Miami’s field goal percentage leads the East at 46.5%, which is fourth best in the league behind OKC, San Antonio and Golden State. That’s some pretty good company to be mentioned with. While Chris Bosh is out due to unfortunate medical issues, Toronto will have their work cut out with Joe Johnson, Luol DengGoran Dragic and possibly Dwyane Wade. The Heat have no shortage of offensive options so the Raptors must bring their A-game on defense.

Crash Defensive Glass

Miami has a rebound vacuum who decides to throw block parties when they need him to. He goes by the name of Hassan Whiteside. He’s a big reason as to why the Heat are sixth in the league at grabbing those defensive boards. The Raptors mustn’t expect any rebounds to simply come their way. Jonas Valanciunas and Bismack Biyombo are the men Toronto will use to combat the efforts of Whiteside and as our bigs, they’ll need to play huge.

Take Care of the Ball

When it comes to opponent stats, the Dinos are great at not allowing the opposing team to steal the ball. With a league best, 6.5 steals allowed, Toronto does an exceptional job at taking care of the ball. While our two main distributors are Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan, the Raps as a unit need to continue the great ball movement and not allow the Heat to force any turnovers.

X-Factor: James Johnson

With the continued absense of DeMarre Carroll, JJ will be in charge of locking down Joe Johnson and Luol Deng. Raptors fans know Joe Johnson all too well from the 2014 playoff series against Brooklyn. If Joe Johnson gets hot, the Raps will be in for a tough night. However, if JJ can play sound defense and lock down Joe Johnson, Toronto will have an easier night.

 

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