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The reunion will wait, as Lowry sits out the first Raptors/Heat match: Preview, start time and more

The Raptors face another contender tonight in the Heat, but a familiar face will be missing from Miami’s team.

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The reunion we anticipated tonight looks like it will have to wait! While the Toronto Raptors are in Miami tonight to face Kyle Lowry’s Heat, Kyle has been ruled out of the game due to personal reasons.

Of course, the show must go on! We’ll have to face the GROAT another day.

Just because they are missing their point guard — and we know how influential he is — doesn’t mean this Heat team isn’t a threat. They currently sit third in the East, and despite dealing with injury after injury, have played extremely well.

It’s the first matchup between these two teams this season, and it will definitely be interesting to see how this new Raptors team does. If the past few games have been any indication — after hanging with the league-best Phoenix Suns, losing to the league-worst Detroit Pistons and then winning against the defending champion Milwaukee Bucks — anything can happen.

Still, the Miami Heat are favoured to win this matchup, as a team that has been TEARING through the East.

The Raptors enjoyed a few days without a long injury list... but it seems we are back to missing a regular cast of characters.

Khem Birch suffered a broken nose in the game against the Pistons, had surgery, and is listed as OUT. Isaac Bonga and David Johnson are still with the Raptors 905. There is a chance Goran Dragic will be in the building tonight — but not dressed for Raptors — he continues to be out. Gary Trent Jr., who has been out for the past few games, is questionable. Scottie Barnes, who missed the last game due to soreness in his knee, is not on the injury report, which means he should be playing.

On the Heat side, Kyle Lowry is out as previously mentioned. Bam Adebayo — one of the Heat’s stars — has been out for a while since getting surgery on his thumb, but may make his return tonight. He is listed as questionable. The Heat will also play without Morris, Okpala, Oladpo, and Silva.

Don’t let a seemingly long injury report fool you — The Heat have DEPTH. So can the Raptors repeat Saturday’s win against the Bucks?

Catch Toronto vs. Miami (sans Kyle Lowry) tonight at 7:30PM ET on Sportsnet.

Bench production... please?

This is a topic most likely mentioned in every preview, recap, and Raptors related story of recent times. The bench needs... help. While our starters are playing at All-Star levels (and we’ll get to that) the bench is providing little support.

With the exception of Boucher and maybe Precious Achiuwa (who will most likely start tonight unless Gary Trent Jr. comes back), the bench has been quiet. Maybe Precious will play well against his former team? The Raptors need it.

Bench production, mixed with the performances of the starters, would avoid close game situations and help take some of the load off guys like Siakam and VanVleet.

Pascal Siakam: All-NBA?

Pascal Siakam recorded his second career triple double on Saturday’s game against the Bucks — getting 30 points, 10 assists and 10 rebounds. He is arguably playing the best basketball of his life, and has made a JUMP in the All-Star voting. The Raptors’ success is greatly tied to his.

Sometimes Pascal can be hot and cold, having a great game one night and underperforming the next — BUT he seems to have his 2019 confidence back. The Raptors NEED him to perform like he did Saturday every night and based on the past few weeks, he seems to be up to the challenge.

On a team with a lot of young, tall guys, Pascal is extremely influential. If young guys like Scottie Barnes and Precious can learn a few of his tricks, The Raptors will be golden for years to come.

Steady Freddy

This seems like an important game for Fred VanVleet to show off his leadership skills. While Kyle Lowry may not be in the building, he (and many others) will most likely look to this game to see how the transition of leadership on this Raptors team is going.

We know Fred VanVleet can lead. Along with Siakam, Fred is the key to this team’s success. He has transitioned into the role Lowry held almost seamlessly. Go with this analogy for a minute — but a win tonight orchestrated through Fred VanVleet may help provide the Kyle-Lowry-breakup-closure Raptors fans need.

Sure, we lost our guy — but he literally left us a young version of himself ready to take his place. Actually a very admirable service when you think about it from Lowry. Who am I kidding, we will always miss him...

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It may not be the reunion we were hoping for, but tonight’s game is still going to be a fun one. It’s giving “introducing my new partner to my ex” vibes — which is always an interesting time, right? Tune in to see if The Raptors prove they are surviving the break up, as the Raptors face the Heat tonight.

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