Tonight’s matchup: Dwyane Wade will continue to come off bench as Heat face Raptors

Heat forward James Johnson and Raptors forward Serge Ibaka were ejected during the second half of the Maimi’s victory in Toronto last month. (Photo: by Nathan Denette, AP)

MIAMI HEAT AT TORONTO RAPTORS

When: Tuesday, 7 p.m.

Where: Air Canada Center, Toronto

TV/Radio: Fox Sports Sun/WAXY 790AM, WAQI 710AM (Spanish)

Records: Miami 30-26, Toronto 39-16

Line: Toronto favored by 8 points.

PROJECTED STARTING LINEUPS

Heat

F: Justise Winslow

F: Josh Richardson

C: Hassan Whiteside

G: Tyler Johnson

G: Goran Dragic

Raptors

F: OG Anunoby

F: Serge Ibaka

C: Jonas Valanciunas

G: Kyle Lowry

G: DeMar DeRozan

Scouting report: Dwyane Wade once again will come off the bench in his second game since being acquired from Cleveland. He had an emotional night Friday with three points, two rebounds, two assists, two steals and two blocks in 22 minutes as Miami snapped a five-game losing streak with its win over the Bucks. … Miami is without Rodney McGruder (left tibia surgery), Dion Waiters (left ankle) and Kelly Olynyk (shoulder), although McGruder is getting closer to making his season debut after going through a full contact practice Monday. … The Heat and Raptors played a chippy game in their only other meeting, a 90-89 Heat victory five weeks ago in Toronto that was sealed by a Wayne Ellington layup in the final seconds. James Johnson and Serge Ibaka were ejected for fighting and suspended one game each. Goran Dragic and DeMar DeRozan each were fined for an incident following the buzzer. … The Raptors are led by their All-Star backcourt. DeRozan is averaging 23.9 points and 5.2 assists per game and Lowry chips in with 16.4 points while leading the team with 6.4 assists. … The Raptors have the best home record in the NBA, 23-4. They have won five straight, all by at least 15 points, to move one half game ahead of the Celtics for the best record in the Eastern Conference. … DeRozan and Lowry will be joined at the All-Star Game by Raptors coach Dwane Casey, who will coach Team LeBron, which includes Dragic. Casey won his 300th game Sunday, a 123-103 victory at Charlotte.

[Will the Heat continue to use Hassan Whiteside and Bam Adebayo on the court together?]

[Mailbag: Can Goran Dragic, Dwyane Wade coexist in Heat’s backcourt?]

[Photos: Dwyane Wade returns to Miami Heat]

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Tonight’s matchup: Heat look to stay hot vs. surging Raptors

MIAMI HEAT VS. TORONTO RAPTORS

When: Tuesday, 7:30 p.m.

Where: Air Canada Centre, Toronto

TV/Radio: Fox Sports Sun/WAXY 790AM, WAQI 710AM (Spanish)

Records: Miami 22-17, Toronto 28-10

Line: Raptors favored by 4 points

Miami Heat guard Tyler Johnson shoots over Toronto Raptors guard DeMar DeRozan in Heat’s loss Thursday at AmericanAirlines Arena. (AP Photo/Joe Skipper)

PROJECTED STARTING LINEUPS

Heat

F: Josh Richardson

F: Kelly Olynyk

C: Hassan Whiteside

G: Tyler Johnson

G: Goran Dragic

Raptors

F: OG Anunoby

F: Serge Ibaka

C: Jonas Valanciunas

G: DeMar DeRozan

G: Fred VanVleet

Scouting report: The Heat will be without Rodney McGruder (left tibia surgery), Okaro White (left foot surgery), Dion Waiters (sprained left ankle) and Justise Winslow (strained left knee) against the Raptors. … Toronto point guard Kyle Lowry will not play Tuesday after suffering an acute back spasm in Monday’s win in Brooklyn. Lowry had to be carried off the floor in overtime after a hard fall. … The Raptors will be playing on the second night of a back-to-back after defeating the Nets 114-113 in overtime in Brooklyn on Monday. … Toronto is 3-2 on the second night of back-to-back sets this season. … The Raptors own the top home record in the NBA at 14-1. … The Heat are 11-8 on the road. … Heat small forward Josh Richardson is averaging a team-high 17.5 points on an efficient 54.1 percent shooting from the field and 46.1 percent shooting from 3-point range in 18 games since Dec. 1. … Miami is averaging 31.3 3-point shot attempts per game, which is the fifth-most in the league. … The Heat have posted an 11-4 record over the past 15 games.

[Game-winning basket just part of why Josh Richardson has emerged as Heat’s best player … budding All-Star?]

[Mailbag: Will crowded Heat frontcourt continue to limit rookie Bam Adebayo’s playing time?]

[Heat 3-point specialist Wayne Ellington was crucial part of Josh Richardson’s game-winner. … as decoy]

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Where would an all-time Heat roster rank compared to other NBA teams?

Shaquille O'Neal and Alonzo Mourning helped the Heat win the 2006 NBA title.
Shaquille O’Neal and Alonzo Mourning helped the Heat win the 2006 NBA title.

The Miami Heat have made a sizable impact on the NBA landscape since joining the association in 1988, but how would a roster of the Heat’s all-time best players stack up against other teams’ historic collections?

PointAfter, a data-driven sports-research website, created rosters of the 12 best players that have played for each NBA organization and ranked the teams based on the win shares that the players on the roster accumulated over their time with that franchise. The player were chosen based on “a combination of All-NBA team nods, All-Defensive teams earned, All-Star appearances, championship rings and overall contributions to the organization,” according to PointAfter.

The Miami Heat’s starting five features a quintet of familiar faces: Tim Hardaway at point guard, Dwyane Wade at shooting guard, LeBron James at small forward, Chris Bosh at power forward and Alonzo Mourning at center. It should come as no surprise that the “Big Three,” with their championship runs and award-winning seasons, are well represented among the Heat’s hypothetical starting five.

The Heat’s all-time roster boasts a deep bench consisting of Shaquille O’Neal, Glen Rice, P.J. Brown, Eddie Jones, Rony Seikaly, Ray Allen and Udonis Haslem. O’Neal likely lost out on a starting spot due to the brevity of his stay in Miami, while the face of the franchise Udonis Halsem’s longevity no doubt helped earn him a roster spot.

As a whole, the Heat’s all-time roster combined for a total of 549.3 win shares, placing them 21st out of 30 teams. Miami finished ahead of the Toronto Raptors, Minnesota Timberwolves, Los Angeles Clippers and in-state rival Orlando Magic, among others.

Not surprisingly, the Boston Celtics feature the greatest all-time roster, led by Hall of Famers Larry Bird and Bill Russell, PointAfter says. Rounding out the top five behind the Celtics are the Los Angeles Lakers, Philadelphia 76ers, Utah Jazz and San Antonio Spurs. Despite the efforts of Hall of Famer Michael Jordan, the Chicago Bulls ranked only seventh on the list.

For more, read PointAfter.

Miami Heat hope to find a way to slow down Toronto Raptors star DeMar DeRozan

Toronto Raptors guard DeMar DeRozan celebrates a 3-point shot during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Washington Wizards, Wednesday, Nov. 2, 2016, in Washington. The Raptors won 113-103. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
Toronto Raptors guard DeMar DeRozan celebrates a 3-point shot during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Washington Wizards, Wednesday, Nov. 2, 2016, in Washington. The Raptors won 113-103. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

MIAMI — The Heat are familiar with DeMar DeRozan’s game.

Miami was eliminated by DeRozan and the Raptors in a seven-game series in the second round of last season’s Eastern Conference playoffs. DeRozan averaged 22.1 points on 38.8 percent shooting in the series as he played through a thumb injury. Continue reading “Miami Heat hope to find a way to slow down Toronto Raptors star DeMar DeRozan”

Miami Heat: Our reporters’ predictions for the 2016-17 NBA season

ANTHONY CHIANG

With a bunch of new faces and no Dwyane Wade or Chris Bosh, this Heat’s roster is full of question marks. But Miami’s new brand of basketball should be fun to watch, as the Heat will play fast and shoot a lot of three-pointers. A core of Goran Dragic, Hassan Whiteside, Justise Winslow, Tyler Johnson and Josh Richardson should keep Miami in the playoff race for most of the season. Record: 40-42

Playoff predictions:

(Click for a larger version)
(Click for a larger version)

TOM D’ANGELO

Although the Heat are rebuilding, they will be entertaining. Miami is athletic, is going to hoist a lot of threes, will play hard and still has Hassan Whiteside and Goran Dragic leading the way. But it doesn’t have Dwyane Wade or Chris Bosh and all that youth means the Heat will be sitting at home when the playoffs start for just the third time in the last 14 seasons. Record: 38-44

Playoff predictions:

(Click for a larger version.)
(Click for a larger version.)

DAVE GEORGE

Too much depends on what the record looks like by the trading deadline in February to make much of an intelligent forecast. If Hassan Whiteside develops a more reliable offensive game and a thicker skin, Miami could be flirting with .500 by then. On the other hand, if Goran Dragic and the other guards don’t mesh into something comprehensible, Pat Riley could decide to blow the whole thing up by midseason. We’ll split the difference and say no disaster but no playoffs either. Record: 36-46

NBA schedule 2016-17: 10 must-see Miami Heat games

Josh Richardson #0 of the Miami Heat shoots during the game against the Golden State Warriors at the American Airlines Arena on February 24, 2016 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Rob Foldy/Getty Images)
Josh Richardson #0 of the Miami Heat shoots during the game against the Golden State Warriors at the American Airlines Arena on February 24, 2016 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Rob Foldy/Getty Images)

The Miami Heat may not have the same household names they’ve had in previous years — having lost Dwyane Wade, Luol Deng and Mario Chalmers, among others — but they’re expected to field a younger team and a faster offense, both of which should bring some excitement to the fan base.

We all knew that the Heat would be testing out their new, young core against some of the best teams and biggest names in the league, but now we also know when these must-watch events will take place.

Here are 10 must-watch games on the Heat’s 2016-17 schedule.

Nov. 4, 2016: Heat @ Toronto Raptors

After getting knocked out in the second round of the playoffs by the Raptors last season, Miami will have a little extra motivation for this game. The Heat’s season ended in Toronto, and the holdovers from last year’s team will likely be seeking revenge. This game takes on extra significance depending on the health and status of Chris Bosh. If Bosh were to play, it would be interesting to see what type of reaction the former Raptor would get, considering his recent time off to deal with career-threatening blood clots.

Nov. 10, 2016: Heat vs. Chicago Bulls

For the first time, Dwyane Wade will need to use the key under the mat to get into the American Airlines Arena as a competitor. Wade will bring a new-look Bulls squad with him, a team with veteran guard Rajon Rondo, Olympian Jimmy Butler and center Robin Lopez. Wade’s return alone makes this a a must-watch game, but these two teams are also projected to battle for one of the final playoff spots in the Eastern Conference.

Nov. 28, 2016: Heat vs. Boston Celtics

Many expect the Celtics to take a step forward this season after adding center Al Horford and rookie Jaylen Brown to a side that already included All-Star point guard Isaiah Thomas. The Heat and Celtics are no strangers and with Boston touted as an up-and-coming team in the East, the Heat will look to delay a conference power shift.

Dec. 16, 2016: Heat vs. Los Angeles Clippers

With Russell Westbrook off the board, Blake Griffin is arguably the most coveted player in the 2017 free-agent class. Griffin will lead a squad with Chris Paul and DeAndre Jordan into Miami in a game where the Heat could well be auditioning for his services.

Dec. 29, 2016: Heat @ Charlotte Hornets

In the same way that Heat players may look to get revenge on the Raptors for knocking them out of the playoff, the Charlotte Hornets will look to even the score against the Heat. Though it is unclear if “Purple Shirt Guy” will be in attendance, the rest of the Hornets fan base will be vocal in its displeasure for the Heat. Both teams will enter the season with new-look rosters, making for an intriguing Eastern Conference contest.

Jan. 10, 2017: Heat @ Golden State Warriors

The Warriors are the NBA’s premier superteam, having signed Kevin Durant away from Oklahoma City this offseason. The Warriors are also coming off the best regular season in NBA history and nearly went undefeated at home. Though the Heat will be hard-pressed to get a win at Oracle Arena, if Goran Dragic can get the offense moving at a face pace, this could be one of the most exciting games of the Heat’s season. The Heat also have some history with the creation of super teams, giving fans another point of interest.

Feb. 4, 2017: Heat vs. Philadelphia 76ers

Yes, the Philadelphia 76ers have been bad and, no, they likely won’t make a huge leap forward into playoff contention this year. However, first overall pick Ben Simmons has the potential to be a franchise-altering talent and, if he plays anything like he did in Summer League, he will be one of the most exciting players in the league to watch. Add in Philly’s other young talents like Nerlens Noel and Jahlil Okafor and the team may see the light at the end of the NBA lottery tunnel.

Mar. 4, 2017: Heat vs. Cleveland Cavaliers

It’s always a spectacle when LeBron James returns to Miami, no matter what the Heat’s roster looks like. Coming off of an NBA title, LeBron returns this time with vindication of his decision to return to Cleveland. Since LeBron’s return to the Cavs, though, Cleveland has not won a game in Miami, giving this year’s contest an extra bit of intrigue.

Mar. 17, 2017: Heat vs. Minnesota Timberwolves

While a matchup with the Timberwolves may not jump off the schedule, Minnesota may be one of the better young teams in the NBA, boasting a core of Andrew Wiggins, Zach LaVine and Karl-Anthony Towns. The Wolves also drafted Kris Dunn with the fifth overall pick in the draft and still have Spanish Olympian Ricky Rubio on the roster. With the Heat developing their own young core, this could be a rivalry that develops into one of the best in the NBA for years to come.

Mar. 29, 2017: Heat @ New York Knicks

The New York Knicks restocked their roster this offseason, trading for Derrick Rose and signing Joakim Noah, Courtney Lee and Brandon Jennings to go along with Carmelo Anthony and Kristaps Porzingis. The Knicks, much like the Celtics, are viewed as having improved, making their matchup with the Heat more intriguing.

2016 NBA free agents: Gauging Heat interest in DeMar DeRozan

If he opts for free agency, DeMar DeRozan will be one of the biggest prizes on the market. (Getty Images)
If he opts for free agency, DeMar DeRozan will be one of the biggest prizes on the market. (Getty Images)

The Heat are getting ready for an aggressive pursuit of elite talent Kevin Durant, but so are 29 other teams. If Miami doesn’t hook its “whale,” will the team be content to wait for a shot at the 2017 free agent class?

Patience has always been a challenge for Pat Riley and his perpetual win-now mentality, which could prompt him to go after another big-time player if Durant doesn’t sign. One of the best available is Toronto wing player DeMar DeRozan.
Continue reading “2016 NBA free agents: Gauging Heat interest in DeMar DeRozan”

2016 NBA playoffs: Strong quotes from Heat locker room

Dwyane Wade and his teammates had a lot to say after losing Game 7. (Getty Images)
Dwyane Wade and his teammates had a lot to say after losing Game 7. (Getty Images)

The Heat’s season is over after a Game 7 loss in Toronto. While they missed their target of reaching the Eastern Conference finals and squaring off with LeBron James, it was an impressive turnaround to go 48-34 after being 37-45 the year before.

Here’s what the team said after losing Sunday:
Continue reading “2016 NBA playoffs: Strong quotes from Heat locker room”

2016 NBA playoffs: Miami Heat are 6-3 in Game 7s

The Heat's most recent Game 7? Two weeks ago, when Goran Dragic crushed the Hornets. (Getty Images)
The Heat’s most recent Game 7? Two weeks ago, when Goran Dragic crushed the Hornets. (Getty Images)

After a convincing Game 6 win over the Raptors on Friday, the Heat are back in Toronto for the 10th Game 7 in their history Sunday.

Miami is 6-3 all-time in these situations, though this is just its second one on the road. Here’s a look at every Game 7 in team history:
Continue reading “2016 NBA playoffs: Miami Heat are 6-3 in Game 7s”

Heat forward Luol Deng (wrist) still questionable for Game 6, more from shootaround

Luol Deng #9 of the Miami Heat posts up DeMar DeRozan #10 of the Toronto Raptors during Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals of the 2016 NBA Playoffs at American Airlines Arena on May 9, 2016 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Luol Deng #9 of the Miami Heat posts up DeMar DeRozan #10 of the Toronto Raptors during Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals of the 2016 NBA Playoffs at American Airlines Arena on May 9, 2016 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

Injuries dominated the shootaround discussion on both sides.

Here’s the latest injury update, including three observations from shootaround just hours before tonight’s big Game 6: Continue reading “Heat forward Luol Deng (wrist) still questionable for Game 6, more from shootaround”