3 things to watch this week: How will Miami Heat fare against team that knocked them out of playoffs?


Goran Dragic drives to the basket during last season's playoffs against Toronto. (AP Photo)

Heat guard Goran Dragic drives to the basket against Toronto during last season’s playoffs. (AP Photo)

MIAMI – The Heat (1-2) head out on their first multi-game road trip of the season later this week. After hosting the Kings on Tuesday, Miami plays at Toronto on Friday, the place where their 2015-16 season ended, before spending two off days in Oklahoma City and facing the Kevin Durant-less Thunder.

Here are three things to watch.

How the Heat does in the second round playoff rematch: Miami hung with Toronto in the Eastern Conference semifinals before being blown out, 116-89, on the road in Game 7. Toronto then went on to lose in six games to Cleveland in the conference finals after tying the series at 2-2. The Raptors though had a much better offseason than the Heat, retaining their best players, including DeMar DeRozan, who scored 72 points in the Raptors first two games of the season. The Heat lost their leading scorer from the postseason, Dwyane Wade, along with Luol Deng and Joe Johnson, who combined to average just under 26 points a game.

Will Derrick Williams ever get off the bench? Erik Spoelstra has played the same nine players in each of the first three games. With 11 players available Derrick Williams and Udonis Haslem are the only two healthy players yet to play. Haslem we expected. But Williams started five preseason games and at times look as though his speed and athleticism would right into the Heat’s style. Instead, James Johnson has received all the minutes at power forward off the bench. Johnson is 0-for-8 in his last two games. Perhaps Williams’ time is coming.

Will the Heat continue to struggle from the line?: Miami is shooting 66.1 percent from the line (41 of 62), which is last in the league. The Heat shot as many free throws Sunday at San Antonio (26) but made four fewer (18). The biggest culprit is Hassan Whiteside who is 11 of 21. Whiteside, though, hopes he cured his free throw blues. He was 4 of 11 entering Sunday when he changed his style, stepping into the shot like a jump shot. He then went 7 of 10.

[Heat’s Wayne Ellington (right thigh contusion) still not ready to return to practice]

[Heat center Hassan Whiteside to bring back jump shot at free-throw line]

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