Raptors Cage

Game Day Preview: Raptors look for seventh consecutive win tonight against the Heat

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on pinterest
Share on google
Share on email

The Toronto Raptors will try to win their seventh consecutive game when they welcome the Miami Heat to the Air Canada Centre on Friday night.

The Raptors will continue to be without starter DeMarre Carroll, who is recovering from arthroscopic knee surgery. Carroll being away for this matchup is nothing new, since he missed the last two meetings in which the Raptors were able to come away with the most recent win.

As their third matchup of the season, the Raptors will be playing a decimated Heat squad that will be without Goran DragicJosh McRoberts, Luol DengHassan Whiteside, and Beno Udrih.

Cage’s Keys to the Game

Push The Pace

The Raptors and Heat are both ranked at the bottom of the NBA when it comes to pace, the former known as the fifth worst team in the league, and the latter as the second.

Despite the Raptors not being great at pushing the basketball, it’s their best shot at beating a defensive team like the Heat, who at the moment have the sixth best ranked defence in the league.

By pushing the pace, the Raptors won’t be allowing the Heat to set up their defensive half-court sets. Not to forget, the Heat are also without a large portion of their rotation, and there’s no better way to make them feel the consequences than by making them run the floor.

Don’t Let Bosh Have A Night

The last time Toronto fans at Air Canada Centre were able to watch Chris Bosh was on Nov. 29, 2013, when he only scored 4 points and collected 5 boards for the Miami Heat. Since then, Bosh has fought off blood clots in his lungs, and has had a remarkable start to the 2015-16 season in which he’s played every single game.

It’s no secret that Toronto loves Bosh for all he’s done for the franchise, and tonight with almost all the other Heat starters sidelined due to injuries, the focus will be back on the superstar that Toronto drafted in 2003. Unfortunately for the home crowd they’ll have to root against Bosh, since he’s really the only hope for the Heat to pull away with a decent offensive performance.

In games that Bosh has scored at least 25 points this season, the Heat are 5-1. That stat alone helps explain why he’s been an All-Star for the past 10 consecutive seasons, and why the Raptors need to contain the 19.2 points a game he posts for his career.

Carry the Momentum

Ever since getting blown out by 22 points against the Cleveland Cavaliers on Jan. 4, the Raptors have worked hard enough to now be riding the Eastern Conference’s longest active winning streak of six games.

If the Raptors were to win tonight’s matchup, it would be the first time that they’ve won seven games in a row since the 2001-02 season. A year in which they were also able to set the franchise record of a nine game win streak.

The 2015-16 Raptors have a chance at beating that record, but they’ll need to get through the Heat tonight, the Clippers on Sunday, the Wizards on Tuesday, and the Knicks on Thursday. The game that sticks out most is against the Clippers, who the Raptors have already beat on Nov. 22, by a score of 91-80.

X Factor: DeMar DeRozan

DeMar DeRozan has been hot the last five games for the Raptors, posting over 30 points on three of those occasions. With Whiteside out due to injury, the Raptors leading scorer can do what he does best, which is driving to the basket.

At the moment, DeRozan leads the entire NBA with drives to rim with 11.9 a game. His ability to get to the basket and draw fouls should be at his best tonight with Whiteside, the NBA leader with 3.85 blocks a game, not around the rim to contest his ferocious style of play.

With Deng out, it will be Gerald Green and a bit of Justice Winslow who’ll have to matchup against DeRozan. Green is an unpredictable scoring threat, who can explode offensively on any given night. But if DeRozan can make him focus his energy on the defensive side of the ball, it would most certainly help the Raptors limit his chances of becoming a load to deal with.


All stats for this article are from BasketballReference.com and NBA.com

You can follow Bryan Meler on Twitter @BryanMelo97


Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on pinterest
Share on google
Share on email

Leave a Comment