PREVIEW: Toronto Raptors hope to raise tempo vs. Heat

Jan 18, 2021; Miami, Florida, USA; Miami Heat guard Kendrick Nunn (25) drives the ball around Detroit Pistons guard Derrick Rose (25) during the second half at American Airlines Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

The Toronto Raptors are not sure whether they will have All-Star Pascal Siakam in the lineup Friday night at their temporary home in Tampa, Flordia when they complete a two-game set against the Miami Heat.

Siakam took an awkward fall on a dunk late in the first quarter of the 111-102 loss to the undermanned Heat on Wednesday night and left the game. He returned in the second quarter and finished with 18 points.

“My groin has been bothering me for a little bit so that was definitely unfortunate,” Siakam said after the game. “But, yeah, I will see what we can do tomorrow (and) see where we’re at.”

He did not practice Thursday and his status was uncertain for Friday.

“He’s a little bit sore and I don’t know what the outcome is for his status for (Friday),” Raptors coach Nick Nurse said Thursday.

The loss snapped a three-game winning streak for the Raptors, who will complete a five-game stretch of home games on Friday.

“I think we were just a half-, a quarter-count behind a lot,” Nurse said of Wednesday’s performance. “I thought we weren’t moving as well as they were moving. They played hard and they were really active, and we weren’t quite active enough.”

Nurse said his team’s defense was at its worst of the season “times three” in the game.

Related: If you’re a fan of the Raptors, check out #WeTheNorth rumors, rankings, and news here.

The Heat, who have been playing without significant players, have won two in a row. The game Wednesday was the opener of a four-game trip.

The Heat were without Avery Bradley and Jimmy Butler (health and safety protocols), Meyers Leonard (shoulder strain) and Tyler Herro (neck spasms).

Among those four, only Herro made the trip to Tampa, but he was not available to play Wednesday. It was not certain when the other three might rejoin the team.

The Heat had six players score in double figures, most notably Kendrick Nunn, who scored 28 points and had eight rebounds off the bench. Bam Adebayo had 14 points and 13 rebounds, and Kelly Olynyk had 15 points, eight rebounds and eight assists.

“Their second unit really was the story of the game (Wednesday), their second unit exploded on us, just look at the numbers both ways, it’s not good there,” Nurse said. Miami’s bench outscored Toronto’s 48-31.

“Guys got to get in, get ready, gotta be solid,” he said. “(We) don’t expect them to be unbelievable every night … but when you’re not unbelievably good, you still have to be average. And they were below average, I thought.

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“Hopefully we’re ready to get out and move a little faster, push the ball a little harder, snap the passes and cover for each other a little bit better defensively. That’s part of when you see a team twice in a row, a big part of it.”

Because they have been short-handed, the Heat have used 10 different starting lineups in their 13 games this season.

“This is the way this season is right now,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. “Either you put your tail between your legs and you just feel sorry for yourself with how crazy it is … or as a competitor, you try to rise to the challenge and improve your team.”

The Heat have won two in a row for the first time this season after a 4-7 start.

“These are opportunities for your team to grow, get better dealing with adversity without making excuses,” Spoelstra said.

Related: If you’re a fan of the Heat, check out #HEATTwitter rumors, rankings, and news here.

–Field Level Media