Miami (23-20) at Toronto (27-15)
When: Friday, January 22nd 2016
Where: Air Canada Centre, Toronto, Ontario
Time: 8:05 ET | TV: ESPN
Two Eastern Conference contenders going in opposite directions meet Friday night in Toronto as the Raptors host the Miami Heat. At the end of Wednesday’s 106-87 loss at Washington, the Heat had just eight healthy players left. Dwyane Wade (shoulder soreness) sat out the loss at Washington and was eventually joined on the bench by center Hassan Whiteside (oblique) and forward Luol Deng (right eye). Veteran Chris Bosh is the best healthy player left and he’s shooting 13-of-25 from the floor over the last two games while scoring 41 points. Wade has missed two of the last four games and is day-to-day along with Deng, but Whiteside is listed as doubtful for Friday and Beno Udrih is out indefinitely. Forward Josh McRoberts (knee) is also listed as questionable. With all of those injuries, its no wonder why the Heat have lost three in a row and six of seven overall. They have dropped to 2.5 games behind Atlanta in the Southeast Division and all the way from the 4th to 7th seed in the East. Miami is averaging just 80 points a game in the last three losses. Tonight will be the second game of a tough five-game road trip for the Heat who will visit Chicago on Monday night.
The Raptors are completely healthy and are in a solid second place in the Eastern Conference and just 3.5 games behind Cleveland for the top spot. Toronto pushed its winning streak to six in a row by outlasting the Boston Celtics 115-109 on Wednesday and is putting up an average of 104.8 points during the streak. The Raptors are in the middle of a nice seven-game homestand that will feature the Clippers on Sunday. DeMar DeRozan is leading the offensive charge with 64 points on 25-of-50 shooting in the last two games. DeRozan is third in the Eastern Conference averaging 23.1 points a game and also averages over 4 assists and rebounds a game. In Toronto’s 108-94 win at Miami on December 18th, DeRozan put up 30 points on 10-of-17 shooting as the Raptors have now taken the last three of four in the series. Terrence Ross is 6-of-10 from 3-point range over the last two games to raise his season percentage from beyond the arc to 36.8. Toronto is just 10-9 ATS at home this year, but they’ve covered three of the last four at Air Canada Centre.
Miami just has too many injuries right now. I think Toronto rolls.
Pick: Raptors -9.5