PASPN® Mobile Site - Raptors at Heat Fri, Dec 18
logologo ®

Buy Event Tickets at

Raptors      0Scheduled
Heat      0Preview
Auto Refresh: Off | 15 | 30 | Refresh

Raptors-Heat Preview


STATS Writer

(AP) -- After closing their homestand with a string of victories, the banged-up Toronto Raptors are fighting through an offensive slump on their three-game road swing.

It certainly won't get any easier in the finale against a team coach Dwane Casey said "got into us defensively and made it tough for us" last month.

As the Raptors try to avoid a season high-tying third straight loss, the defensive-minded Miami Heat seek their longest winning streak in 20 months Friday night.

Toronto shot 47.9 percent from the field in winning the last four of a six-game stay north of the border, but has struggled with a 36.4 mark over the first two of its trip.

Although DeMar DeRozan scored 31 points Thursday, Kyle Lowry shot 6 for 29 - including 3 of 17 from 3-point range - in a 109-99 overtime loss at Charlotte. The Raptors only made nine of a season-high 39 attempts (23.1 percent) from beyond the arc.

"It's almost like we have to get hit in the teeth before we compete," Casey said after his team rallied from a 16-point deficit to force overtime.

It hasn't helped that they're playing without starters Jonas Valanciunas (finger) and DeMarre Carroll (knee), the team's third and fourth leading scorers. Neither player is expected to return for the trip's final stop at American Airlines Arena.

Center Bismack Biyombo has filled in to give Toronto a solid defensive presence and finished with a career-best 18 rebounds and career high-tying seven blocks Thursday.

Valanciunas had a team-high 17 points on 8-of-12 shooting in the first meeting at Miami on Nov. 8. Lowry and DeRozan, however, were a combined 9 for 30 and the Raptors shot just 39.4 percent and were 3 of 19 from 3-point range in a 96-76 loss.

Toronto (16-11) had lost 16 in a row before winning the last two meetings in 2014-15. They could have a difficult time evening this season's series with Miami (15-9) leading the Eastern Conference in points (93.8) and shooting percentage (42.2) allowed.

The Heat shot 53.3 percent while holding their fifth consecutive opponent under 100 points in a 104-98 win at Brooklyn on Wednesday. They're going after their first four-game winning streak since March 28-April 2, 2014, before LeBron James' departure.

"We've won three in a row, but we have a big one Friday," coach Erik Spoelstra said. "The challenge now is not to get overwhelmed with just the result. It's how we're playing and just to bring an incredible disposition at home against a very good team."

Dwyane Wade played through a swollen mouth that gave him trouble speaking earlier in the day, finishing with 28 points. Hassan Whiteside scored 20 with 13 rebounds.

Wade made 13 of 17 shots after missing 13 of 16 in his previous game at Atlanta. Whiteside had been averaging just 7.8 points over his prior four.

"Last game I got so many great shots and couldn't knock them down," Wade said. "I told my teammates if I get those same shots versus Brooklyn, they're going in."

Now it's Chris Bosh's turn to regroup after he matched a season low with seven points while missing six of his seven shots. Bosh, who spent his first seven seasons with Toronto, has totaled 44 points and 19 rebounds in his last two meetings.

The All-Star has helped the Heat win 12 in a row in the series when he's played.

   Sign In - The Home Of Mock GM® Reality Fantasy Basketball