NBA Preview from The Sports Network|
Monday, March 31st
(All times Eastern)
Toronto Raptors (42-31) at Miami Heat (50-22), 7:30 p.m.
(SportsNetwork.com) - Two of the Eastern Conference's best teams jump it up
Monday night when the Miami Heat welcome the Toronto Raptors to
The Heat, who have clinched another Southeast Division title, have won two
straight and open a five-game homestand Monday night. Due the Indiana Pacers'
struggles of late, Miami has inched within a game for Eastern Conference
The Heat went 2-1 on a recent road trip and the victories came after
Wednesday's hard-fought loss to the Indiana Pacers. Miami closed with lopsided
wins over the Detroit Pistons and Milwaukee Bucks.
"Great trip. Sucked on Wednesday. We wanted that one," said LeBron James. "But
it was a great trip overall the way we bounced back with all the adversity as
far as guys being out of the lineup."
After a 32-point, 110-78 victory in Detroit on Friday night, the Heat squashed
the Bucks, 88-67, on Saturday. Those were the two lowest point totals allowed
this season by Miami.
The Heat played without Dwyane Wade (hamstring), Mario Chalmers (bruised
quad), Greg Oden (back spasms) and Ray Allen (flu) for the second game in a
Chris Bosh had 14 points and James scored 13 for the Heat. Toney Douglas and
Rashard Lewis also scored 13 for the Heat, while James Jones chipped in 10
The Heat host the Bucks, Minnesota Timberwolves, New York Knicks and Brooklyn
Nets on this residency.
The Raptors, the Atlantic Division leaders, have won three straight and four
of their last five. Toronto has won two consecutive road games and starts a
rough stretch Monday with home games against the Houston Rockets and Indiana
Pacers after the South Beach visit.
On Sunday, the Raptors bested the Orlando Magic, 98-93.
The Magic trailed 96-93 with 8.9 seconds on the clock when Maurice Harkless
failed to inbound the ball in time, resulting in a five-second violation.
DeMar DeRozan netted a pair from the line to seal the outcome for Toronto
after the call. DeRozan finished with 28 points, Jonas Valanciunas added 20
points and nine rebounds and Kyle Lowry scored 16 to keep the Raptors 2 1/2
games ahead of the Nets for the top spot in the Atlantic Division.
The Raptors nearly squandered a 21-point lead, but held on for the critical
"They saw the 20-point lead and like any NBA team, they let their guard down,"
said Raptors coach Dwane Casey. "That's a development we've got to have, to
keep the intensity, keep your foot on their neck and keep it down."
The Heat have won 14 straight against the Raptors and eight in a row as the
host in this series.
03/31 10:20:42 ET