Game Preview: Raptors vs. Heat
Miami Heat (22-17) @ Toronto Raptors (28-10)
When: Tuesday, January 9, 7:30 P.M. ET
Where: Air Canada Centre
Broadcast info: TSN1/4, TSN1050
Toronto last faced Miami in April last season. A 38-point performance from DeMar DeRozan helped the Raptors get a 96-94 win in their final regular season home game at the Air Canada Centre. Cory Joseph added 14 points off the bench and Kyle Lowry scored 12 points. Though Toronto led throughout, the Heat came all the way back to tie the game with 4:43 remaining in the fourth. Toronto didn't break, though as Serge Ibaka hit a three-pointer and Toronto never trailed again. The Heat were led by former Raptors player James Johnson's 22 points and 10 rebounds, while Goran Dragic added 18.
LEADING INTO TONIGHT'S GAME
Injury report: Kyle Lowry sustained an acute back spasm in Monday's game in Brooklyn. He will be reevaluated on Tuesday. For Miami, Rodney McGruder (left tibia surgery), Okaro White (left foot surgery), Justise Winslow (left knee strain) and Dion Waiters (left ankle sprain) are all out.
Another week, another accolade: On Monday afternoon, the NBA announced that DeMar DeRozan had been named the Eastern Conference Player of the Week for games played Jan. 1-7. DeRozan averaged an NBA-high 37.5 points, 6.0 assists and 4.3 rebounds as he led the Raptors to a 3-0 record. On Jan. 1, he set an NBA record for the most points scored on New Year's Day when he also set a career-high and franchise-high, scoring 52 points against the Milwaukee Bucks. This was the eighth time in his career that DeRozan has been named Player of the Week and the third time this season.
Home court: The Raptors are happy to be home. Finishing out a three-game trip with a 114-113 overtime win in Brooklyn, to go 3-0 on the trip, Toronto returns to the Air Canada Centre with a chance to set a franchise record for consecutive wins at home. The Raptors are an NBA-best 14-1 at home and have won 12 straight on the ACC floor.
Busy week: This is a jam-packed week for Toronto. After needing overtime to defeat the Nets in Brooklyn on Monday, the team returns to the ACC to face the Miami Heat in a back-to-back on Tuesday. The team will then host the Cleveland Cavaliers on Thursday and the Golden State Warriors on Saturday.
Block party: Serge Ibaka had another big night and double-double on Monday, finishing with 11 points and 12 rebounds in 39 minutes. He also made his presence felt in the paint in a big way, swiping six of Toronto's 12 blocked shots. Brooklyn had just two blocks as a team. Ibaka is now averaging 1.5 blocks per game.
Balanced Effort: Many NBA teams talk about the importance of players one through twelve. The Miami Heat have the stats to back it up. This season, the Heat have eight players averaging double figures. Led by Goran Dragic (16.7 points per game), Dion Waiters (14.3), Hassan Whiteside (14.0), Josh Richardson (12.8), Tyler Johnson (12.0), James Johnson (10.8), Kelly Olynyk (10.5) and Wayne Ellington (10.5) round out the group. As a team, Miami is averaging 100.9 points per contest.