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Heat know when they play next, but not who their opponent will be

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After closing out their first-round Eastern Conference series by completing four-game sweep of the Charlotte Bobcats last Monday, the Miami Heat finally know when they will begin the second round.

But they still don’t know who their opponent will be.

The Brooklyn Nets and Toronto Raptors series was extended to a seventh game when the Nets beat the Raptors 97-83 Friday night. They will meet again on Sunday, this time in Toronto for the deciding game.

The Heat get the winner and will open the second round at home Tuesday night.

The two potential opponents present an interesting contrast.

The Heat were 4-0 against the Raptors in the regular season and have won the last 15 meetings.

Against the Nets, the Heat were 0-4 this season, dropping three one-point decisions. The other Heat loss came in double overtime.

Heat all-Star guard Dwyane Wade did miss two of the games and forward Udonis Haslem sat out the last meeting, an 88-87 Nets’ win, but the Nets were without forward Kevin Garnett in that game as well.

Heat coach Erik Spoelstra sees neither factor coming into play in this series.

"Typically in this league, it just matters about you," he said. "You can do case studies of whether things translate from the regular season to the postseason.

“But also even dial in deeper, it just doesn't from one series to another, or one game to another, or a quarter to another. It's a whole different ballgame in the playoffs."

What could be of more significance for the Heat what effect an eight-day layoff could have. To combat that, the Heat had a highly competitive, physical practice on Friday.

“The guys got after it,” Spoelstra said. “I don’t know if we’ve gotten after like this since training camp. So this gives it a little more normalcy.”

Spoelstra and his staff have done the preliminary scouting report on each of their two possible opponents and likely will catch the Sunday afternoon clash between the two as well, though no serious scouting can be done from the telecast because of all the commercial interruptions. It’s the “least efficient” way to scout a game, he said.

The two opponents do present contrasting styles, and the Heat will have to be ready for anything. Any and all combinations of lineups/rotations will be on the table.

“Whatever it takes with our group,” Spoelstra said. “Our guys understand that, and it could change from game to game.

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