The Raptors have received consistent efforts from Marion, but it hasn’t equated to many victories.
While O’Neal and the Heat look for back-to-back wins for the first time since January, Toronto will try to rebound from a winless road trip Friday night with its seventh straight victory over Miami.
Miami (32-28), which last won two in a row from Jan. 24-28 when it had three consecutive victories, looks to build off Wednesday’s 135-129 win over Phoenix. Dwyane Wade scored 35 and matched a career high with 16 assists, leading the Heat past the Suns and former teammate Shaquille O’Neal.
“You can tell the way Dwyane was playing throughout the game that it was very important for him to show things are still going good without the Big Fella in the middle,” Daequan Cook said after hitting six 3-pointers and scoring a career-high 27.
“It gives us some power down low, which since Shaq left we’ve been missing,” Wade said following the deal. “We really need that to compete in the Eastern Conference.”
O’Neal’s numbers, though, have dipped since he arrived in Miami. He is averaging 12.3 points and 5.8 rebounds after posting 13.5 and 7.0 with Toronto. O’Neal has two or fewer rebounds in three of his eight games with Miami, including one in his debut - a 111-104 loss to Minnesota on Feb. 18.
“I don’t care if I’m on only one leg,” he said after that game. “I should never grab only one rebound.”
Marion averaged 15.4 points and 10.4 rebounds in his first five games with Toronto before leaving Sunday’s 109-98 loss at Dallas in the first quarter with flu-like symptoms.
Marion scored 12.0 points per game and averaged 8.7 rebounds for Miami in 2008-09.
“They’re getting a great, great player in Shawn,” Heat president Pat Riley said following the deal.
Toronto, though, has dropped five of seven since the trade. The Raptors (23-39) lost for the seventh time in eight road games Tuesday, falling to Houston 107-97 to finish an 0-3 trip. Marion posted his fourth double-double since the deal with 18 points and 10 rebounds, while Chris Bosh and Andrea Bargnani each scored 25.
Bosh is averaging 21.0 points and 9.0 rebounds as the Raptors have won both meetings with Miami this season. He had 27 points and seven boards as Toronto won its fourth straight at home against the Heat, 107-96 on Nov. 16.
The Raptors, however, have the second-worst home record in the East at 12-16. Nine of Toronto’s next 11 games are at Air Canada Centre.
Moon will also be facing his former team for the first time. His production has spiked since the deal, averaging 9.8 points on 52.5 percent shooting after scoring 7.3 per game for Toronto. Moon is averaging 14.3 points since being inserted into the starting lineup three games ago.
“Jamario Moon is really under the radar as far as what he can do,” Wade said.
The Heat are also hoping Luther Head can provide a scoring punch. Miami signed the fourth-year guard for the rest of the season Wednesday after he was waived by Houston on Monday.
Head is expected to be in uniform Friday. He averaged 4.8 points in 22 games with the Rockets this season.
The Heat’s last win over Toronto was 92-89 on April 3, 2007, in Miami.