The Raptors aim to end their recent stretch of futility against the surging Heat in the final regular-season meeting between the two teams at ACC tonight (7 PM ET, TSN, FAN590, GET TICKETS).
Key Questions Heading into this one:
Can The Raptors Take Care Of Home? Because that hasn’t been the case so far. The Raptors are 1-1 on their current season-long four-game homestand and 3-4 overall this season at ACC.
Their latest defeat at home — a flat 102-100 effort against the Nets on Tuesday — still had head coach Dwane Casey irritated by what he felt was a step back from his group on Thursday.
“I told the guys this morning, make sure we take care of all our ticket business, family business and all that stuff early,” said Casey. “It’s hard to say. I think it’s easy and it’s kind of human nature to relax at home a little bit, thinking home is going to take care of you. The main thing is, you’ve got to take care of home.”
Watch more from Casey after Thursday’s practice at ACC:
Will The Raptors Finally Solve The Heat? It’s going to be a tough task for the Raptors based on a few factors.
The Heat appeared somewhat vulnerable when they visited Toronto back on November 5th with a 2-2 record. But LeBron James went on to score 35 points, grab eight rebounds and dish out eight assists in a 104-95 Heat win and capped his night like this…
… James has been dancing ever since and the Heat have gone 10-1 over that span. The reigning MVP has been particularly good during the Heat’s current eight-game win streak, averaging 27.6 points per game on 61.4 per cent shooting.
Recent history is also not on the Raptors’ side against the Heat, who have won 12 straight meetings. That’s beginning to rank among the Raptors’ all-time losing streaks against an opponent, with prior losing streaks against the Pacers (13), Suns (14) and Bulls (15) the only ones longer.
Can Rudy Gay Start Making Shots? Rudy Gay went straight to the practice court to put up 500 shots after his dismal 3-for-12 shooting performance against the Nets on Tuesday, as he tries to solve what’s been a protracted shooting slump. Gay is now shooting 37.5 per cent on the season, but remains confident he can turn it around, particularly from close range where he’s shooting well below career norms. More from Gay on Thursday below.
Can DeMar DeRozan Keep It Going? The Raptors other co-captain has been on a tear coming into this one — leading the league in scoring with a 28.6 point per games over his last five games. More impressively, DeRozan’s been shooting .515 (50-for-97) from the field, .500 (12-for-24) from 3-point range and .795 (31-for-39) at the free throw line.
Check out more from his body of work on Tuesday, when he score 27 against the Nets.