It’s been a weird start to the year for both Miami and Toronto. Miami has dealt with several injuries and health protocol issues, so they’re just 5-7. Toronto, playing in Tampa Bay this year, is only 5-8.
The Raptors do come into this game off three wins in a row, finally riding a positive streak. They had an issue finding an effective big man and even cut one-time starter Alex Len, despite a contract guarantee.
Aron Baynes is starting but only playing short spurts in the first-and-third quarters. Chris Boucher has been dominant and has surprisingly become their only reliable big man.
Miami has been without Jimmy Butler for a long stretch, but they hadn’t been playing too well even when he was in the lineup. Most of the roster has had some significant playing time opportunities this year. Things will turn around at some point, but it’s weird to see a team that just went to the NBA Finals with a 5-7 mark to open the following campaign.
The spread is set at Toronto -4. The Miami moneyline is at +133, while the Toronto moneyline is at -167.
Miami Looking for Key Win
It’s been a tough season for the Heat thus far, though they hope to start turning things around with this contest. They’ve taken the good with the bad, not exactly dominating even in the wins.
But, to not be even further down from where they are, is not the worst thing. Progress has to be made in this year of surprises, and they have a chance.
Unfortunately, they will again be without Butler, as well as Avery Bradley and Meyers Leonard. It is unclear if Tyler Herro or Goran Dragic will play, but their presence on the floor would make a significant difference.
Thirteen of 16 players to take the floor for Miami this year have made at least one start, just 12 games in. Only Duncan Robinson has appeared in every contest.
Raptors Look to Make it Four Straight
The recent stretch of games has shown us what the Raptors are still capable of. And that would be being able to beat any team on a given night.
They dealt with injuries all through the regular season before the shutdown last year and still finished as the No. 2 seed in the East. There are no excuses.
So, the Raptors lost their two centers, and it’s taken them a bit of time to realize that Chris Boucher should be their primary big. No, bother.
Because now that they know, the team is about to pop off. Fred VanVleet has struggled with his shooting of late, but Kyle Lowry has been doing some good things for them. Look for Lowry and Pascal Siakam to have big performances here.
Raptors Win Again
Miami will fall to 5-8, as Toronto improves to 6-8. Four wins in a row! Here they come.
FREE PLAY: Raptors -4
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