Heat check: New-look Raps get test from Miami

February 3, 2013, 10:22 AM

The final piece of the puzzle appears to be in place for the Raptors as Andrea Bargnani is expected to return from injury on Sunday afternoon when the Raptors host the Miami Heat.

The Raptors are coming off an electric win on Friday when they crushed the Los Angeles Clippers, sans Chris Paul, in Rudy Gay’s debut in Toronto.

The Heat continue to meander through the season as many believe the defending champions are currently in cruise control although they are atop the Eastern Conference standings.

Here are a few thoughts to consider ahead of tonight’s game.

Bargnani back?

Jonas Valanciunas came back from injury on Friday in the win over the Clippers and his frontcourt mate Bargnani appears ready to follow suit.

Bargnani has not played since a Dec. 10 game against the Portland Trail Blazers due to an elbow injury.

The 7-foot Italian has suited up for just 21 games this season, averaging 16 points and 4.3 rebounds per game.

Gay’s second game

The Raptors looked like they could beat almost anyone with Gay in the lineup when they smoked the Clippers on Friday night.

While Gay came off the bench in his debut, he still played 32 minutes while scoring 20 on 50 percent shooting from the field.

It will perhaps be more interesting to see Gay on the other end of the floor on Sunday as he will likely be trying to slow down LeBron James.

The captain’s call

Heat guard Dwyane Wade was named captain of the Eastern Conference All-Star team.

One of the duties that comes with the job is helping to select the participants in other events such as the dunk and three-point contests.

Wade tried to talk teammate LeBron James into finally participating in the dunk-off but was not able to use his influence into getting a “yes”.

“I tried to convince LeBron,” Wade told ESPN.com Friday before the Heat took on the Indiana Pacers.

“On the dunk contest?” James said when Wade asked him. “Oh no, that’s out.”

“I told him I’d throw him a lob and we’ll win,” Wade said. “He turned me down; I think he got nervous.”

Wade said James also passed on the three=point contest as well.


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