Photo Credit: Chris O’Meara/The Associated Press
The Raptors don’t have to travel far this time, as they will make a short trip from Tampa to Miami tonight to take on the Miami Heat.
After a setback last night, the Raptors are hoping to continue their recent success and get back on a winning note. While losing 109-102 to the 76ers last night, Toronto has won four of their last five and sit at a record of 16-16, good for fifth in the Eastern Conference.
The team defense has been key for the Raptors over the past several games and will need to remain strong tonight. After holding the top-ranked Milwaukee Bucks offense to under 100 points, the Raptors held Minnesota to a season-low 81 points, and were able to contain MVP candidate Joel Embiid over the past two. Embiid only scored 25 points on Sunday, his lowest total in over 15 games, while the Raptors held him to just 18 last night.
The Miami Heat, after starting 7-14 have also turned their season around, winning seven of their past 10 matchups. Miami has won three in a row, all on the road, including a 96-94 victory in a finals rematch against the Lakers.
This will be the third meeting between the two teams this year, having split the first two last month at the Raptors home court in Tampa Bay.
The Heat are led by their big man, Bam Adebayo, who has been highly efficient from the field and as a defender. Adebayo is averaging a team high 19.6 points per game on 57% shooting, to go along with 9.5 rebounds per night.
Jimmy Butler has also remained pivotal for the success of the defending Eastern Conference Champions, averaging just under 20 points, while adding 7.6 rebounds and assists per night.
The Heat have been a bottom five scoring offense this year and have also committed the most turnovers in the association, averaging over 15 a game. The Raptors will hope to use this to their advantage tonight, as they are second in the league for steals.
Kyle Lowry remains questionable, but is trending towards playing in what seems likely to be a game-time decision.
With ten teams separated by four games in the East, there is a lot to play for. Tipoff tonight is scheduled for 8:00PM EST on TSN.