A jubilant Heat team found the winning formula at home when they won against the Detroit Pistons 113-107 last Monday.
The Raptors are also coming off a huge win on their home floor on the same day, routing the Dallas Mavericks 116-93. It was their third straight victory after a short two-game skid.
Fixture – Miami Heat vs Toronto Raptors | 2020-21 NBA Season
Date & Time – Monday, January 20th, 7:30 PM ET (Tuesday, January 21st, 6:00 AM IST)
Venue – Amalie Arena, Tampa, FL
Miami Heat Preview
The win against the Detroit Pistons was a sigh of relief for the beleaguered Miami Heat, a team that has been hit hard by the league’s COVID-19 health and safety protocols.
When they face the streaking Toronto Raptors, coach Erik Spoelstra will want the same type of passion and resilience his team exhibited in the Pistons game.
The Toronto Raptors have so many weapons clicking at the right time. For the Heat to capture a win on the road, they have to silence a couple of them, especially their backcourt of Fred VanVleet and Kyle Lowry.
It will be up to Goran Dragic and Duncan Robinson to slow the two players down with the help of Miami Heat center Bam Adebayo.
Key Player – Bam Adebayo
Bam Adebayo has been on a tear in his last two games for the Miami Heat, averaging 28.0 points per contest on a sizzling 65.4 percent shooting from the field. In addition, he put up 9.0 rebounds, 5.5 assists, 1.0 steals and 2.0 blocks on average.
The All-Star center’s defensive presence will be a crucial element to determine the outcome of the game.
As one of the Miami Heat’s leaders, Adebayo’s voice has to be heard by his teammates in the same manner in which he spoke up when the Heat were trailing by 19 points in the first quarter versus the Pistons.
Miami Heat Predicted Lineup
G Goran Dragic G Duncan Robinson F KZ Okpala F Kelly Olynyk C Bam Adebayo
Toronto Raptors Preview
As they try and extend their winning streak to four games, the Toronto Raptors will have to find an extra gear when they take on the Miami Heat on Wednesday.
The game will mark their fourth match in five nights on their temporary home residence, and coach Nick Nurse will have to manage his players’ minutes carefully to avoid a letdown in energy.
Despite the lopsided win over the Mavericks on Monday, four-fifths of the starters still played at least 33 minutes.
Toronto Raptors guard Fred VanVleet, their second-leading scorer at 19.0 points per game, struggled with a 2-of-10 shooting night but his teammates picked up the slack for him. He will have to regain his shooting touch when the Miami Heat come to visit.
Key Player – Chris Boucher
Chris Boucher has been quite a revelation for the Toronto Raptors this season. In his last six games, he averaged 20.7 points, 8.8 rebounds and 3.2 blocks per game. His defensive presence has been one of the keys to the Raptors’ recent success.
Because of his stellar play, the Toronto Raptors have found new life and are now 5-8 this season.
Boucher will be matched up against Bam Adebayo, the Miami Heat’s own defensive big. He will have to find a way to neutralize Adebayo’s impact on the game for the Raptors to win.
Toronto Raptors Predicted Lineup
G Kyle Lowry G Fred VanVleet F OG Anunoby F Pascal Siakam C Aron Baynes
Heat vs Raptors Match Prediction
Two of the league’s top teams last season are struggling out of the gate, making this a crucial battle. The Miami Heat will play this game with franchise player Jimmy Butler still out of commission due to the league’s coronavirus protocols.
Tyler Herro is also questionable. Meanwhile, Goran Dragic is listed as day-to-day but he should be ready by game time.
Can the Heat steal a win versus the Toronto Raptors?
Fatigue will be a factor for Toronto, and Spoelstra knows this. He will try to make his players run at every opportunity to push their advantage.
However, the Toronto Raptors have found their groove, and their bench has been bolstered by Chris Boucher’s strong performance, which will make this an uphill battle for the Heat. The Raptors will be tired from playing so many games in a week but don’t expect them to lay down without a fight.
The Toronto Raptors will win but only by the slimmest of margins.
Where to watch Heat vs Raptors
Published 20 Jan 2021, 07:32 IST