The NBA season is only a week away from starting, which means that all of the leading teams will be fine tuning their plans for the season ahead. Two of the team that will be hopeful of competing for the Eastern Conference Championship this season will meet in one of the final pre-season games.
Raptors Continue Excellent Pre-Season Form
It has been an off-season full of change for the Toronto Raptors, as they have lost both Marc Gasol and Serge Ibaka. However, the pre-season has given the Raps the perfect chance to introduce some of the new players that are expected to play a huge part in what could be a successful season. The biggest positive for the Raptors was the announcement that Fred VanVleet would be staying with the franchise, as he finally signed a new long-term deal with the Raptors.
It will be an interesting season this term for the 2019 champions, as they won’t be playing their home games in Canada due to the coronavirus pandemic. Instead, the Raptors will be playing in Tampa. Toronto continued their preparations for the NBA season with another win in their most recent game against the Charlotte Hornets.
The Raptors ran out 112-109 winners, with both of the damage being done in the final two periods. VanVleet continued the excellent form that he showed last year by scoring 23 points, while Malachi Flynn continued to show what he could bring to the Raptors by scoring 17 points. Pascal Siakam added 12, while Terence Davis contributed 14. There was no Kyle Lowry once again for the Raptors, but he is expected to be back fit for the season opener.
Heat Looking For First Pre-Season Win
The Miami Heat have played one fewer than the Raptors in pre-season so far, as they have only played on one occasion. Miami will be looking to go one better than they did last term, as they were beaten in the NBA Finals by the Los Angeles Lakers. Not many people could have foreseen them getting that far in the post-season last term, and once again the Heat will be considered outsiders to reach the finals.
They did show at the end of last season that they are able to excel in the post-season, but starting the regular season will be their aim in the short-term. The Heat were beaten in their first pre-season game, as they went down 114-92 to the New Orleans Pelicans. Zion Williamson was the star for the Pelicans, as he scored 26 points in the win.
The Heat started well, but faltered in the third and fourth quarters. Tyler Herro scored the most points for Miami, as he scored 17 and contributed six assists. Bam Adebayo added eight assists and nine points. Duncan Robinson, Kendrick Nunn and Max Strus all scored more than ten points for the Heat.
Toronto Raptors vs Miami Heat Picks
This final game will allow both teams to try and find the right balance before the season gets underway for real next week. The Heat will need to share the points around more, which means the pick will be for the Raptors.