NBA Pick: Raptors +3 to Upset Tonight Over a Not Fully Fit Heat Team

David Lawrence

Saturday, April 11, 2015 11:41 AM GMT

Saturday, Apr. 11, 2015 11:41 AM GMT

The Raptors were able to tie Bulls for 3rd place in the East on Wednesday. They’ll need to beat the Heat  as they’re a 3 point dog on NBA odds tonight to avoid a tough 1st round with Bulls or Wizards.

The Toronto Raptors Can Win Because…
For this match Toronto is a 3-point road dog on NBA odds but they are playing defense the way a good team should when it goes up against an inferior team. The Raptors should take care of teams that are not going to make the playoffs – not just beating them, but beating them up, too. Toronto did that to the Charlotte Hornets on Wednesday night. The Raptors allowed a total of just 45 points through the first three quarters. They never allowed more than 16 points per quarter in the first three quarters. They built a lead as big as 29 points before stepping off the gas pedal and gliding into the locker room with an 18-point win, 92-74. The Raptors held the Hornets to 34.6 percent shooting from the field. Toronto also limited Charlotte to only 18 two-point baskets in 59 attempts, just a whisker over 30 percent. Toronto also allowed only 11 free throw attempts, showing that it was disciplined as well as suffocating. The display of defense was truly complete.

Toronto also has a good chance to win because it is going up against a team that is either playing players who aren’t fully fit (Dwyane Wade, Mario Chalmers) or is having to sit players because they’re not well enough. This is a patchwork team and while the Heat are trying their best to get to the playoffs, their resources are simply limited. That’s the reality of their situation, and it showed in their limp, tired, 27-point second half on Thursday night against the Chicago Bulls. The Heat were outscored 33-8 in the third quarter and looked like a team that simply ran out of ideas, energy and optimism.

 

The Miami Heat Can Win Because…
They are faced with a moment of much greater significance than anything the Raptors face. It is true that Toronto is playing for seeding, but in the end, the Raptors know that if they get the third seed or the fourth seed, they will still have to go through either Cleveland or Atlanta in the second round of the playoffs. The Raptors won’t lose too much sleep over this game. The Heat, on the other hand, certainly have to win it if they’re going to get back to the postseason in an attempt to defend their Eastern Conference championship. This is a proud team with an underrated coach, Erik Spoelstra. The Heat suffered a crushing loss to Chicago on Thursday, but if any organization in the NBA other than the San Antonio Spurs is going to play with pride in a late-season game, the Heat are as good a candidate as you could want. These guys have been through the battles, and while they might face a lot of obstacles, they will go down trying, even if the body is asking things they might not be able to perform. Toronto’s intensity probably won’t match what Miami will bring to the court.

Outlook
The Heat’s 33-8 third quarter collapse against Chicago on Thursday was the telltale sign of a team whose fuel tank hit empty. They’ve lost five of six and are just about eliminated from the playoffs. It’s going to be very difficult – physically and mentally – for Miami to put in 48 complete minutes against a good team that’s headed to the playoffs. Take Toronto with your NBA picks here – especially since Lowry is expected to play.

NBA Pick: Toronto +3 at 5Dimes

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