I missed yesterday’s prediction as the Thunder took down the Timberwolves. While Kevin Love dropped 30 points and snagged 10 rebounds, Kevin Durant showed why he is #1B in this league with a sparkling 48 points, 7 rebounds, and 7 assists to take the win, 115-111. – Matty D
Just like the G-Man’s NHL Roundup, Lightning Strike is just a quick preview of one of many NBA games, story-lines, or moments occurring on that day. Whether you are a diehard NBA fan or someone who just wants to get their feet wet in basketball action, Lightning Strike is a quick and easy read.
Toronto Raptors (16-15) at Miami Heat (25-8) – 6pm
They’ve won nine of their last eleven. No, I’m not talking about the Heat. Since trading away their best player in Rudy Gay, the Raptors have been on a nice winning streak. They face a still test against the reigning champs, who have beaten Toronto the last 13 times they’ve faced off. Raptors Coach Dwane Casey has already said guarding King James will be a challenge without Gay to matchup. Claiming he will use half the roster to defend the game’s best, Casey even created a position saying, “They’ve got a power forward that’s really a point guard, two-guard, three-guard all in one so you’ve got to do some special things to try to contain him”. Ah yes, the three-guard position! Anyway, the Heat are playing the second game of a back-to-back, which could see them be a tad tired. Shane Battier may not play and Dwayne Wade is still constantly injured so we will see just how much time each gets. Toronto also needs this one more, but the game is in South Beach, which makes it even tougher.
Jonas Valanciunas vs Chris Bosh
There is a high probability that Miami will not leave Bosh matched up against Valanciunas the entire game as Chris Anderson, Joel Anthony, Udonis Haslem, and even Greg Oden will help. But Bosh plays a lot of center for the Heat and therefore will have to battle the 7-footer. The Heat’s one Achillies heal is lack of a true big man, which Valanciunas is. Look for him to have some success, which is critical to slow down the Heat’s incredible attack. If Valanciunas can get to Bosh, I give the Raptors a fighting chance because Lebron looks to shut down the Raptors leading scorer DeMar DeRozan.
Lowry vs Chalmers when the Raptors have the ball
Mario Chalmers is not a bad basketball player, but when you share the floor with James, Wade, Bosh, and Ray Allen, you will always look less talented. That being said, he is an important part of this team. And tonight he will need to step his game up against Kyle Lowry. This Villanova product is part of constant trade talks because he is a solid point guard. Averaging 15.7 points per game along with 7.5 assists, Lowry can really help the Raptors tonight offensively. With DeRozan effectively non-existent due to the defense of James, the scoring will have to come elsewhere. Along with Valanciunas and Amir Johnson, Lowry can provide this against a weak link in Chalmers. If he can add 25 points and a dozen assists, the Raptors can go party on South Beach as victors.
Heat over Raptors – 114 to 105
I’m not predicting a blowout and think the Raptors will hang around late. But Lebron will have a field day and the Raptors won’t get enough out of their young talent, especially Valanciunas. Simply too much Heat for the Canadian team to deal with.