A pair of Eastern Conference teams currently in the playoff picture take the floor north of the border. The Miami Heat is on the road as they make the long trip up the east coast to face the Toronto Raptors Tuesday night. Miami snapped a five-game skid by beating the Bucks 91-85 at home Friday night in their latest action. Toronto won their fifth straight by rolling past Charlotte 123-103 on the road Sunday afternoon. The Heat leads the all-time series 51-29, including a 90-89 win here in the first meeting this season on January 9.
Miami Heat Look to Win Back to Back Games
Miami had been slumping with five straight losses on the ledger before they came up with a win at home over the Bucks Friday night. The Heat has had three days to rest in between games, which hopefully will recharge the team a bit. Miami trailed by four at the half but blew the game open by outscoring Milwaukee 30-8 in the third quarter to go up 18: they withstood a Bucks’ rally in the fourth to earn the win. The Heat overcame 36.4 percent shooting from the field, including 10 of 26 from three point range, in the game. Miami controlled the boards 51-37 in the contest: Tyler Johnson led the team with 19 in the win.
The Heat has been mediocre offensively so far this season, ranking 28th in the league with 100.3 points per game. Miami has been below average on the glass as they are 19th with 42.7 boards per game. The Heat is 23rd in assists with 21.8 dimes per contest. Miami comes in 3rd in scoring defense as they allow 101.1 points per game. Hassan Whiteside is the big man in the low block with 14.2 points plus 12 boards a night but has missed 19 games this season with knee issues. Goran Dragic averages 17.2 points, four rebounds and 4.8 assists per game while Dion Waiters put up 14.3 points per contest. Waiters underwent season-ending surgery on his ankle on January 22 while Dragic missed two games with a knee contusion. James Johnson (10.1 points, 4.8 boards, 3.9 assists), Kelly Olynyk (11 points, 5.5 rebounds) and Josh Richardson (13.4 points, 3.3 rebounds) are solid secondary options. The Heat also look to the recently reacquired Dwyane Wade (11 points), Wayne Ellington, Tyler Johnson and Justise Winslow to contribute on both ends. Miami is tied for 22nd in field goal percentage as they shoot 45.1 percent as a team. The Heat stands tied for 10th with 11 three pointers a night and 20th in three point shooting at 35.7 percent.
Toronto Raptors Seek Sixth Straight Victory
Toronto picked up their fifth straight win as they rolled over Charlotte on the road. In the process, the Raptors moved half a game up on the Celtics for the top spot in the Eastern Conference and the Atlantic Division. Toronto trailed 10-0 two minutes into the game before getting going: once they got started, Charlotte proved to be no match for them. The Raptors led by seven at the half and put the game away by outscoring the Hornets 28-19 in the third quarter. Toronto shot 56.3 percent from the field and went 18 of 37 from three point range in the contest. DeMar DeRozan led the Raptors with 25 points in the victory while CJ Miles added 24 off the bench.
The Raptors currently are 3rd in the league by averaging 111.6 points per game. Toronto stands in the middle of the pack in the league on the glass, ranking 16th with 43.5 boards per game. The Raptors are 11th in the league in assists with 23.2 dimes a night. Toronto is 7th in scoring defense as they give up 103.3 points per game. DeMar DeRozan leads Toronto with 23.9 points plus 5.2 assists per contest. Jonas Valanciunas averages 12.1 points plus 8.4 boards per contest. Kyle Lowry is the floor general for the Raptors and he contributes with 16.4 points plus 5.8 boards and 6.4 assists per game. He missed three games with a bruised tailbone and lower back soreness but returned against the 76ers January 15. Toronto receives solid production from guys like Serge Ibaka (12.7 points, 6.1 rebounds) and Norman Powell: CJ Miles (10.3 points), Lucas Nogueira, Pascal Siakam, OG Anunoby and Delon Wright are being looked at to contribute for coach Dwane Casey’s group. The Raptors are 7th in the league in field goal percentage by shooting 47 percent from the field. Toronto is 7th in the league by sinking 11.5 three pointers per game. The Raptors are 21st in the league in three point shooting as they hit 35.6 percent from beyond the arc.
- Heat are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 vs. NBA Atlantic
- Raptors are 4-0 ATS in their last 4 home games
- Raptors are 4-0 ATS in their last 4 games following a straight up win
- Raptors are 4-0 ATS in their last 4 games following an ATS win
Miami has had three days off to rest but the fact remains that the team had lost five in a row before beating Milwaukee. The rest likely will help the Heat, who were banged up a bit, but they still have a tough task here going on the road. Toronto is playing well right now with five straight victories to take over the top spot in the Eastern Conference, supplanting Boston. The Raptors are very good at home and they’ll be motivated to avenge their loss to the Heat here last month. Look for Toronto to pick up a sixth straight win here as they cool the Heat off again.
Pick: Toronto Raptors -8
Miami has lost five of their last six and it’s unclear if three days rest was the best thing for them after picking up a win over the Bucks. Dragic was banged up and shot just one for 11 from the floor in the contest. The team already announced that Kelly Olynyk won’t travel for this contest, taking him out of the equation. Wade had a quiet debut with the team after being acquired, scoring just three points in 22 minutes of action. Toronto has been on a roll of late and will look to build on their recently acquired lead atop the Eastern Conference and the Atlantic Division. The Raptors have won five straight: can they avenge their loss last month against Miami last month?
The under is 9-0 in the Heat’s last 9 Tuesday games, 4-0 in their last 4 games following a straight up win, 5-0 in their last 5 vs. a team with a winning straight up record and 13-3 in Heat last 16 vs. Atlantic Division opponents. Toronto has seen the under go 4-0 in their last 4 Tuesday games, 5-1 in their last 6 games following a straight up win of more than 10 points, 5-1 in their last 6 games following a ATS win and 4-1 in their last 5 games playing on 1 day of rest. The teams have gone under the total in each of their last five meetings: look for that to be the case here as well.