The Toronto Raptors continue their mini three-game homestand against the Miami Heat.
However, this game feels like an afterthought as Pascal Siakam was traded to the Indiana Pacers. Toronto is now entering a new era of its franchise.
While Bruce Brown, Jordan Nwora and Kira Lewis Jr. will not be ready to make their debuts, the Raptors have to take on the Heat without a valuable scoring option in Siakam. But, it’ll be intriguing to see how Scottie Barnes, Immanuel Quickley and RJ Barrett perform with a bit more responsibility.
Barnes is now the face of the team and has to show he is ready to be the No. 1 option. This is the second meeting between these two teams, as Barnes struggled in the first meeting against Miami.
The Heat were without Bam Adebayo in that game, but that proved to be no issue as they beat Toronto, 112-103. Still without Jakob Poeltl for an extended time, the center position remains an issue as Adebayo is capable of having a field day.
Miami revolves around Jimmy Butler and Adebayo, so head coach Darko Rajakovic will have to force the role players to beat them. The Heat’s stars like to get downhill and attack the rim. So without Poeltl, this may be an issue for Toronto.
Keeping both Butler and Adebayo off the free-throw line will be key, but simply keeping the Heat out of the bonus is vital.
On the other side, Barnes needs a bounce-back performance to set the tone for the team. But, also the team needs to make more shots from distance after a horrific 4-for-32 performance against the Boston Celtics on Monday.
While the Raptors need to shoot better, they have to contain the 3-point line for the Heat. Miami ranks No. 5 in team 3-point percentage at 38.2 but ranks 21st in attempts at 33.
Miami Heat (24-16) vs. Toronto Raptors (15-25)
7:30 p.m. ET, Monday, January 15, 2024
Scotiabank Arena, Toronto, Canada
Projected Heat Starting Lineup:
PG: Kyle Lowry
SG: Tyler Herro
SF: Jimmy Butler
PF: Nikola Jovic
C: Bam Adebayo
Key Reserves: Duncan Robinson, Caleb Martin, Josh Richardson
Projected Raptors Starting Lineup:
PG: Immanuel Quickley
SG: Gary Trent Jr.
SF: RJ Barrett
PF: Scottie Barnes
C: Jontay Porter
Key Reserves: Thaddeus Young, Chris Boucher, Jalen McDaniels
Have you subscribed to the Raptors Nation YouTube channel? It’s the best way to watch interviews, exclusive coverage from events, participate in live shows, and more!