Raptors vs Heat, Time to Pray

Miami is buzzing as three current Raptors make their return to South Beach.

The NBA has slated two games on Super Bowl Sunday, the Raptors visiting Miami and the Celtics hosting the Grizzlies. The Raptor game starts at 1pm and the other one at noon, this means that all action should be wrapped up nicely by 3:30pm, leaving everyone to go to their respective big game parties with a head start on the hangovers.

The Heat are coming off a 20-point thumping of the Sixers, which LeBron James described as the “best game from start to finish” for the Heat all season. The win has Miami winning 6 of 7, and 9 of 11. Now that Wade is healthy again, they’ve found a new gear and are ready to…wait a minute…I don’t care. Miami is a good team, we all know that, the Raptors aren’t a good team which is also well known. That should sum up all the previewing there is for this one.

As is the case with every game this year, the measure of success is how competitive the Raptors will be. Some things to watch out for would be whether Casey has the cahones to start Bayless against Wade at the two, or whether it’ll be DeRozan. If he does start Bayless, then DeRozan gets shifted over to the three to guard and be guarded by LeBron James. In any case, DeRozan will be going up against a Hall-of-Famer. I’d like to see him respond by showing a pulse and a heartbeat, and not curling into the fetal position and launching a 21-footer with a crooked follow-through which hits the area between the rim and the backboard. Waiting for him to finally “wake up” is getting frustrating, the Nets game was nice but after he laid an egg against Joe Johnson, this might be a chance to remind everyone that you’re a candidate for the face of the franchise.

Chris Bosh will be checked by Amir Johnson if Gray gets the start again, and in the high likelihood of the Raptors losing this game, I’d like to at least see Amir have some good moments against Bosh, and ideally, stomp on his testicles. Now THAT would totally justify his contract. Honestly though, I’m over Bosh and speak of him only because we’re playing the Heat; every time he is mentioned my first reaction is regret. I regret that we wasted six years trying to build around a guy that everybody, even his staunchest supporters, knew wasn’t close to being good enough for a centerpiece. When Bosh himself finally admitted that by going to Miami, it validated all kinds of theories and feelings for people, and finally put to rest that this guy was a franchise player. That was the silver lining in the whole saga.

This game marks a return of sorts to Miami for Anthony Carter, Rasual Butler, and Jamaal Magloire. Carter played their for the first four years of his career, Butler played his first three years there, and Magloire played the previous three seasons in Miami. It’s the latter that I totally expect to get some run, and have some sort of a moment in this game. Whether it be him trying to act “tough” by launching an arrow to the knee of Bosh, or taking out LeBron on a drive, it’s going to happen. I’m sure when Magloire signed his deal in Toronto he had higher expectations of the team, and might have even pictured himself as the key veteran presence in a late-seed playoff team. Since water has been thrown on those dreams, it’s time for Plan B, which is basically to cause shit. And shit he shall cause, mark my words.

The line for this game has Miami laying a ridiculous 16 points. The only reason I’d even entertain this bet is that they could blow us out by the third and possibly rest their starters, which is when DeRozan would “explode” to cut the lead down to 15 and score me some money. Seriously man, you don’t see these kinds of lines every day in the NBA.

I’ll end with Amir Johnson:

“Somebody has to stay positive and keep a smile on their face, just to stay positive and keep playing. We have a lot of season left.”

Indeed, we have a lot of season left. Unfortunately. I can’t wait for the Jonas era to start, not because it’ll necessarily be better, but because it’ll be different, and right now different counts for good around these parts.

Enjoy the game…I mean the Super Bowl. For the Raptors, say a silent prayer so they come out of Miami with their heads held high.

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