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Game Thread: Toronto Raptors vs. Miami Heat

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The Raptors are riding high on a three-game win streak and a rapidly reforming identity. They’ll be put to the test tonight against the Miami Heat. Let’s watch.

NBA: Preseason-Miami Heat at Toronto Raptors Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Can you hear that? That’s the sound of the Toronto Raptors putting together a three-game win streak for the first time in 2020-21. Tonight, they’ll put it on the line against the Miami Heat. Dare they go for four? Well, that could be a taller order. Let’s unpack the situation.

The Raptors got two of their past three wins off the Charlotte Hornets, a renewed team but by no means a power house. And what’s more: both games were uncomfortably close affairs, the kind of game you just do not want to find yourself in against the dang Hornets. The third win, meanwhile, was against the visiting Dallas Mavericks who have been levelled by COVID health protocols but had at their disposal the combined efforts of MVP-hopeful Luka Doncic and stringbean big man Kristaps Porzingis. The Raptors walloped them — and it was damn encouraging to see.

That’s precisely why this Heat game feels significant. Those Hornets games showed a Raptors team that was still — still — figure things out; the Mavericks game had them firing on all cylinders. The Heat, meanwhile, are also ravaged by the COVID situation (and some more typical injuries), but they’re also a team that employs a few star player — not least of which is Bam Adebayo, who may just be one of the top three players in the conference.

So then we arrive, as always, at some sort of question: are these Raptors finally on new footing or are they about to be exposed against a bigger, stronger, and/or more talented team?

On that note, prepare for the tonight’s Raptors-Heat game with a re-read of Joseph’s preview from this morning. Below are the updated game details (including an update on Tyler Herro’s absence for the night).

Now, let’s watch.

Where to Watch:

Sportsnet One at 7:30pm EST

Lineups:

Toronto – Fred VanVleet, Kyle Lowry, OG Anunoby, Pascal Siakam, Aron Baynes

Miami – Goran Dragic, Gabe Vincent, Duncan Robinson, Kelly Olynyk, Bam Adebayo

Injuries:

Toronto – Patrick McCaw (knee – out), Terence Davis (hip – probable)

Miami – Jimmy Butler (COVID-19 protocols – out), Avery Bradley (COVID-19 protocols – out), Meyers Leonard (shoulder – out), Tyler Herro (neck – out), Goran Dragic (foot – probable), Gabe Vincent (knee – probable)