clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Raptors vs. Heat: Two of the East's best square off

Miami is rolling lately, but Toronto has been all season. Saturday night should be a blast.

John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

Toronto continues its stretch of games against potential Eastern Conference challengers tonight as the Raptors play host to the Heat - a team that has cruised since adopting a more up-tempo style since the All-Star break.

You can read the full preview from weary traveler John Gaudes here.

Miami has flipped identities since Chris Bosh went out of the lineup due to a blood clot scare. Before the mid-February break, Miami was plodding along at the league's second-slowest pace, racking up just 94.9 possessions a night. Since then though, Goran Dragic as been unleashed to run a higher octane offense. Miami ranks a modest 14th in pace since February 19th, but is piling up five more possessions on a per game basis than it was with Bosh in the lineup.

Dragic in that time has beefed up his numbers significantly, posting a line of 19 points, 7.3 assists and 5 rebounds over his last 12 games. Toronto's recently-shaky perimeter defense is going to be in tough as they try to wrangle the once All-NBAer.

Dragic will be without his back court running mate, however. Dwyane Wade is a late scratch with a bruised thigh.

With Wade unavailable, Miami's wing depth takes an obvious hit. Perhaps we'll see the Heat deviate from the smaller look it's been running out during it's recent hot streak, in which Luol Deng has started at the four. Regardless of how the lineup looks, the new-look Heat should be yet another test of the Raptors' claim to being the East's biggest threat to the Cavaliers.

Enjoy the game, and comment away.