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Josh Weinstein

Home, sweet home.

The Toronto Raptors return to Air Canada Centre as they get ready to play host to the Miami Heat on the second night of the team’s back-to-back set. For Toronto, the team will be without the services of Kyle Lowry, after he suffered an acute back spasm in the closing minutes of regulation last night versus the Nets. Lowry is officially listed as day-to-day, but you can expect Raptors management to err on the side of caution and wait until their star point guard is 100 percent before clearing him to return.

Jonas Valanciunas has made his presence felt in two consecutive performances, finishing with 20 points and 13 rebounds on Friday, then 21 points and 13 rebounds on Monday against the Nets. The Lithuanian will be in tough tonight against a formidable interior presence in Hassan Whiteside. Expecting him to have yet another dominant game seems far-fetched. That being said, someone needs to be more involved offensively given Lowry is out. While Delon Wright is likely to be that guy, don’t rule out Valanciunas just yet.

Tonight’s matchup is a battle of win streaks, with the Raptors putting their five-gamer on the line against the Heat’s four. The Heat have won all four games during their streak by single-digits. That should change tonight, given Miami is up against a Raptors team that is leaps and bounds better than the previous competition the team has faced in its past four outings. Even without Lowry in the lineup, the Heat should not make the mistake of underestimating Toronto’s skill level.

Side note: DeMar DeRozan is averaging 35.5 PPG in four games since the calendar turned to 2018. He’s shown absolutely no signs of slowing down at this point, especially when the 3-pointer is a part of his offensive arsenal. That aspect of his game needs to be taken seriously by opponents going forward if it’s not already.

Tip-off is at 7:30 PM ET on TSN.

Projected starting lineups: 

Toronto Raptors (28-10)

  • PG Delon Wright
  • SG DeMar DeRozan
  • SF OG Anunoby
  • PF Serge Ibaka
  • C Jonas Valanciunas

Miami Heat (22-17)

  • PG Goran Dragic
  • SG Tyler Johnson
  • SF Josh Richardson
  • PF Kelly Olynyk
  • C Hassan Whiteside

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