Raptors vs Heat -- Gameday Preview: Raps look to complete back-to-back sweep

The Raptors bench will need to step up vs the Heat - David Manning-USA TODAY Sports

After holding on for a 98-93 win over the Orlando Magic on Sunday, the Raptors will be in tough against the Miami Heat.

Despite a shaky fourth quarter, the Raptors held on to beat the Orlando Magic on Sunday night, securing their 42nd win of the season and ensuring that they will finish above .500 for the first time in six years.

On Monday, Toronto will look to complete the back-to-back sweep in Florida. This will be no easy feat as they are set to take on the Miami Heat, winners of two straight and three of their last five games.

The Heat have struggled of late, going 9-8 in March. This is a very vulnerable time for them as they have seen a number of their players including Dwyane Wade fluctuate in and out of the lineup. If there ever was a time for the Raptors to beat the Heat, now would be it.

Of course, the Raptors are on the second night of a back-to-back. Despite Dwane Casey's mandate to give both DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry rest down the stretch of the season, each saw right around their season averages in minutes against Orlando -- a team that, theoretically at least, Casey could have afforded to rest his stars against.

Here are the three keys to the game:

1) Second Unit: This will be the biggest key to the game for Toronto. Casey has been clever with his rotations of late, something that was almost never said about him before the trade. This has been especially key without Patrick Patterson who has carried the bench for the majority of the season.

Casey has utilized players like Nando de Colo, Chuck Hayes and Landry Fields in spots where he feels like they give him an advantage. Sunday night in Orlando, Fields and de Colo saw a combined 25 in minutes and were a plus 23 on the night. This comes as a surprise given how sparingly both -- particularly Fields -- have been used this season. Again, this speaks to the depth that this team has, something that they will need to rely on, playing one of the best teams in the league on no rest.

A wildcard here: Patterson has been going through drills with the team and could play against the Heat. If that is the case, that gives Casey another big time weapon in his arsenal.

2) Defence, Defence, Defence: Until recently, the Raptors defence has been stellar, good for top seven in the NBA. There was a concern of a possible let up in March after embarrassing defensive efforts against the Suns, Hawks and Cavaliers. Toronto has since reigned in their team defence, holding opponents under 100 percent in two of their last three games.

3) Beware the Bounce Back Game: LeBron James is coming off of one his quietist games in recent memory, scoring 13 points, grabbing seven rebounds and turning the ball over four times in 30 minutes of action vs the lowly Bucks. James rarely puts together two poor games in a row, as such the Raptors may be in for a long night at the office.

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join Raptors HQ

You must be a member of Raptors HQ to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Raptors HQ. You should read them.

Join Raptors HQ

You must be a member of Raptors HQ to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Raptors HQ. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.

tracking_pixel_9347_tracker