Heat Prepare for Loss to Raptors


John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

Let me make it clear – Miami isn’t really going into tonight’s game looking to lose. It’s just liable to happen.

Why? Because the Pacers have lost two games in a row.

It’s not a given, of course, that an Indiana loss is followed by a Miami one. But, hot damn, if that isn’t the way it’s worked out as pointed out by Miami Herald reporter Joseph Goodman via Twitter:

Keep in mind that Miami’s roster seems in a state of constant upheaval; rumor (totally made up) is that Heat Assistant Coach Juwan Howard might get some minutes. But the Heat is starting their 72nd (again, made up) different starting lineup this season.

Dwyane Wade, Greg Oden and Mario Chalmers (who missed Saturday’s contest) haven’t been declared active as of this posting, nor has Ray Allen been cleared to return after missing three straight games due to the flu. Instead, Toney Douglas, James Jones and Udonis Haslem were all in the starting lineup on Saturday, in a 22-point Miami victory over Milwaukee.

But the Bucks are the NBA’s worst team while Toronto (41-31) is a team on the rise. The Raptors were expected to be a major player in the Eastern Conference Tank-a-Thon™ following their trade of leading scorer Rudy Gay to Sacramento. Instead, they’ve climbed to third in the Eastern standings and have been redefined as a fast-paced, defensive-minded and unselfish team.

All-Star DeMar DeRozan leads the team with nearly 23 points per game, with Kyle Lowry (17.5 PPG and 7.7 APG), Amir Johnson, Terrence Ross, Jonas Valunciunas (8.5 RPG) and a good bench also contributing nightly. Their transformation from long-time doormat to playoff team has been one of the most surprising storylines of the season.

So what’ve we got so far? An unstable title contender going through lineups and injuries like it’s going out of style? Check.

A team that is historically-weak but has turned their season around dramatically? Check.

A Pacers loss that now has Miami only one game back in the standings? Annnnnddddd….check.

So watch the game, see if the Heat finds a way to break their March curse. Or, if you get bored, go watch the Miami Marlins and National League Rookie of the Year Jose Fernandez get an Opening Day win against the Rockies! Go see it live at Marlins Park – plenty of seats are surely available.

Watch the telecast of the game beginning at 7:30 P.M. on Sun Sports from AmericanAirlines Arena in Miami. Check back with AllUCanHeat for a regular updates and for a full recap after the game.