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Danny

Raptors at HEAT Official Game Thread and Preview

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(Photo Credit: Issac Baldizon)

The Miami HEAT are back in action tonight after a five-day layoff. The HEAT (26-12) host the Toronto Raptors (15-26) at AmericanAirlines Arena. The HEAT are looking to extend their two-game winning streak. Tip off is set for 7:30 PM; coverage on Sun Sports starts at 7 PM.

1. Does Chris Bosh playing the Raptors mean anything anymore?

Couper Moorhead: Some of Bosh’s old teammates are still with Toronto, but nowadays these games feel fairly static as far as regular season matchups go. If Bosh wasn’t in Miami he would have gone somewhere else, and there doesn’t seem to be many bad feelings on either end. It will still get played up in the media, but at some point the storyline has to be put out to pasture.

Danny Martinez: No. We’re two full seasons removed from Bosh’s relocation to Miami. In that time, Bosh has played against the Raptors a handful of times both in Toronto and Miami. There never seemed to be any ill-will, and if it was present, it’s surely subsided by now.

2. If the Raptors have to make a choice between Jose Calderon and Kyle Lowry – Calderon is a free agent this summer – who would you pick to keep?

Couper: Both are very good players, with Calderon being the better floor manager and Lowry being the more dynamic offensive option, but Calderon has had his time in Toronto and while it’s hardly his fault, the Raptors of the future will be built around DeMar DeRozan and Jonas Valanciunas. Calderon might actually be a better fit for that pairing because of his passing ability, but while Lowry might not make things as easy for his teammates, he would also take shots and touches away from DeRozan, which might be a good thing for everyone involved – forcing DeRozan to develop off the ball is going to be a key.

Danny: This is pretty easy for me. Kyle Lowry is five years younger and appears to have a higher ceiling. There’s a comfort level with Calderon and the Raptors, but as they build with an eye towards the future, Lowry, who’s just 26, has to be the call. When healthy, Lowry is a devastating offensive player and a good defender. With him, DeMar DeRozan and Jonas Valanciunas, the Raptors have a few interesting building blocks.

3. DeMar DeRozan received some acclaim earlier in the season for making improvements in his game. Halfway through the year now, how is he different?

Couper: He started off hot and has continued to show an improving back-to-the-basket game, but the only area in which DeRozan has improved his per-36 minutes numbers is by adding one rebound to his average. He’s at his best with the ball in his hands creating in the middle of the floor, but he’s not particularly efficient in doing so and doesn’t manipulate defenses in a way that helps his teammates. There’s still a ton of talent here, but if he’s not going to become a better three-point shooter, he needs to improve his playmaking, especially in the pick-and-roll with Valanciunas.

Danny: DeRozan hasn’t seen improvement in the one spot, behind the arc, that could open up the floor for the rest of his game. There are still ways to succeed, but the improvements will be harder to make. DeRozan shoots a lot of long twos, which drag down his efficiency. Becoming a better pick-and-roll player as well as working off the ball and cutting to the basket would go a long way for his development. DeRozan is still young and there are new, young pieces around him in Toronto. Finding where he fits alongside Lowry and Valanciunas will make things easier as time goes on.

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With this (too) long rest ... hope the heat won't play sloppy bball and make a quick work of the raptors

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I am hoping to see Birdman get at least a short stint on the floor. We should get a good look at how he moves and how his legs are doing after an extended period of time without playing. That said, we should coast to the win, but the Heat have slept too many times on teams like this so you never know. But I am sort of tired of the inconsistencies, sooner or later we are due for a big winning streak.

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Tonight MIAMI must protect the Triple A. MIAMI must take the fight out of the Raptors early. I now that we all would love to see the bench get extended minutes,possibly closing out the fourth...TEAM HEAT since '88!

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Getting killed inside by another sh**ty team. Time to put Birdman out there and see what he looks like. Give him a try at least.

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*sigh* back to sucking. I wish this team could be like OKC or the Spurs.

This team was partying in south beach too much like the Divas they are.

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Substitution patterns for Spo couldn't be more garbage. Somebody tell me what the first 7 minutes of the 2nd quarter was? What lineup was that that Spo had out there and continued to have out there while we couldn't score and the Raps built their lead and got momentum?

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Substitution patterns for Spo couldn't be more garbage. Somebody tell me what the first 7 minutes of the 2nd quarter was? What lineup was that that Spo had out there and continued to have out there while we couldn't score and the Raps built confidence?

He's been using that lineup all year. It's completely garbage and he won't switch from it. He should be putting Wade in there with Bosh and running pick&roll.

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Put Birdman in because garbage time has begun.This team has no comeback fire in them it seems. Might as well get Magloire to play the second half

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Substitution patterns for Spo couldn't be more garbage. Somebody tell me what the first 7 minutes of the 2nd quarter was? What lineup was that that Spo had out there and continued to have out there while we couldn't score and the Raps built their lead and got momentum?

This team is not showing any effort.

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