Perfect time for Raps to face ice-cold Heat

TERRY KOSHAN, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 7:29 PM ET

There hasn’t been a better time in a while for the Raptors to be in Miami.

And it’s not just because of the beautiful sunny weather.

After a resounding victory at home yesterday against the Houston Rockets, the Raptors will face a Heat team tomorrow night that is struggling at home, losing six of 13 at American Airlines Arena, making it the lone NBA team that has a playoff spot today with a sub-.500 record on its own court.

So much has the Heat cooled off that the team held a closed-door meeting with coach Erik Spoelstra after it was demolished 118-90 by the Memphis Grizzlies last night.

“Teams sometimes respond to those,” said Raptors coach Jay Triano, whose club did that exact thing earlier this month. “They are going to get fired up. Hopefully we play hard and aggressive and get off to a good start, and they start doubting themselves.”

The Raptors, who have won their past three games in Miami, continue their mini two-game trip in Orlando against the Magic on Wednesday night before returning home to play the sad-sack New Jersey Nets on Friday night. The game in Orlando will mark the return of Raps forward Hedo Turkoglu, who spent five years with the Magic and helped the team get to the NBA final last season against the Los Angeles Lakers, where the Lakers won in five games.

Toronto will attempt to build off a win against Houston that it earned through simple hard work, a habit that had eluded the Raps at times in 2009-10.

Regardless of how poorly the Heat has been playing — its 7-2 start is long-forgotten and it has lost 10 of 15 — guard Dwyane Wade will be difficult to contain.

“It’s still two tough teams we’re playing on back-to-back days” Raptors guard Jarrett Jack said. “We have to bring it. Playing here will not be easy. I’m sure they’re going to be anxious to not let (Sunday’s loss) repeat itself. We have to play hard and get ready to corral Dwyane Wade.”

Raptors point guard Jose Calderon, who is nursing a hip injury, did not make the trip.


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