Only four of the fifteen teams in the Eastern Conference can currently say they are by definition above average. Nevermind that this is pretty pathetic and instead focus your attention on the fact that two of these four teams are squaring off tonight, and that’s enough to qualify the contest for game of the night honors. On a Sunday that is dominated by Wild Card NFL action, you might want to carve out some time to check out the new look and suddenly surging Toronto Raptors visiting the two-time defending NBA Champion Miami Heat.
For NBA novices it may be a surprise that the Toronto Raptors are one of the four teams over .500 in the Eastern Conference. However, the one-time karmic favorites in the Riggin’ For Wiggins Sweepstakes are currently in the driver’s seat in the Atlantic Division. The catalyst of this franchise transformation… the shipment of Rudy Gay to Sacramento a little less than one month ago, which brought an end to the incredibly messy, bewildering, enigmatic and entertaining Rudy Gay/DeMar DeRozan duo. Since the trade the Raptors have won nine of twelve, helping to build the cases for the ideas of Addition By Subtraction and The Ewing Theory.
Tonight we’ll see if the Raptors recent run of success can continue against the Miami Heat, currently the 2nd seed in the Eastern Conference. Miami has defeated Toronto twice already this season, both on the road, but both with Rudy Gay involved in the game. The Raptors kept both games close, and with Miami coming in after a road game in Orlando last night, it would be foolish to think they couldn’t hang in there with the defending champions again. All things considered, this could be a good one.
The Pick: Miami 104, Toronto 96
National TV: None
Local TV: TSN2 (Toronto) and SUN (Miami)
Time: 6:00 p.m. EST