Heat at Raptors Game 7 Preview

Oh, Canada!

So, Game 7 is on the menu for Sunday afternoon (3:30 p.m. ET on ABC) as the Miami Heat and Toronto Raptors square off for the all-or-nothing deciding game in this NBA Eastern Conference playoff series that determines who makes it to the conference finals and there's plenty of questions each team must answer ... here's a couple:

Can the visiting Heat win again with its "small-ball" lineup that pulled off the 103-91 triumph in Game 6?

No doubt that the element of surprise worked wonders for Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra and Company in that double-digit win on Friday night - after all, Miami didn't announce its starting five till right before tip-off - but even if the combo of Dwyane Wade and Goran Dragic (52 points between 'em in Game 6) "go off" we believe those other starters named Luol Deng, Justise Winslow and Joe Johnson must shoot it better than 10-of-24 from the floor ... or else.

Will Toronto get an "energy" game from anyone off its bench here in Game 7?

Again, the Raptors simply have to be counting on guards DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry (a combined 59 points on a whopping 48 FG attempts in Game 6) but who's gonna come off the pine and lend a helping hand? Remember we predicted that Toronto could steal Friday's game in South Beach if reserve F Terrence Ross shined but instead the oft-timid Ross contributed just 6 points in 24 points - double that total here and the forecast is that the "We The North" crew will prevail.

One final item as we direct our NBA weekend attention to Heat-Raptors: Toronto has not lost back-to-back games yet in this year's post-season that also included a seven-game series win against the Indiana Pacers in Round I but the Raptors are a shoddy 4-9 ATS (against the spread) in playoff hoops this spring;

Miami is 6-0 SU (straight-up) in its last half-dozen elimination games and the Heat's 8-5 versus the vig this playoff campaign.

Here's how this playoff series has gone so far between the Heat and the Raptors (and note all home teams are in CAPS):

DATE WINNERSPREADLOSERSCORE
5-3Miami+ 4TORONTO102-96 (ot)
5-5TORONTO- 5Miami96-92 (ot)
5-7Toronto+ 5.5MIAMI95-91
5-9MIAMI- 4.5Toronto94-87 (ot)
5-11TORONTO- 5Miami99-91
5-13MIAMI- 3.5Toronto103-91