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Heat host Raptors in matinee affair

Miami Heat forward Chris Bosh said a few days ago it's important for this team to make the essential adjustments following a loss.

"If we lose one or two, we need to make the necessary adjustments, get it done and cut that down," Bosh told the Miami Herald. "That's the next step."

Bosh, his teammates and the coaching staff aired their grievances and offered suggestions on what they can do to make this team better after blowing a lead against Milwaukee in Wednesday's 105-97 loss. The meeting of the minds worked in a big win at Philadelphia Friday night and the Heat look to build off of that triumph in a Super Bowl matinee this afternoon versus Toronto. The New England Patriots will face the New York Giants tonight in Super Bowl XLVI.

The Heat are back in south Florida following their two-day sojourn and will host both the Raptors and Cleveland Cavaliers. Winners in nine of their last 11 games, the Heat recorded a 99-79 victory over the pesky 76ers at a packed Wells Fargo Center and were led by Dwyane Wade's 26 points. LeBron James turned in another solid performance with 19 points, 12 rebounds and eight assists for Miami, which used a 27-8 run to start the fourth quarter and outscored the Sixers by a 32-16 margin in the final stanza.

"The most important thing is that this team improved in 48 hours," Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra said. "This was a very good team win against a very good team that has been playing well."

Mario Chalmers and Bosh scored 13 and 12 points, respectively, while Mike Miller also had 12 points and Norris Cole added 11 in the win. The Heat shot 51.9 percent and aim for a fifth straight win at home Sunday. They are 10-2 as the host and own a 1 1/2-game lead over Atlanta for the top spot in the Southeast Division. Miami is 12-3 versus the Eastern Conference this season and sports a 5-0 mark against Atlantic Division inhabitants. It has won nine in a row against teams from that division during the regular season.

A win today for the Heat would match their best 24-game start to a season since an 18-6 ledger in both the 1996-97 and 1998-99 campaigns. Another victory would also put them a season-high 12 games above the .500 mark. James is the best candidate to make that happen and is the only player in the NBA to average at least 20 points, seven rebounds and seven assists per game. He has posted at least 15 points, five rebounds and five assists in 25 straight games, and only one other player in league history has registered those numbers in at least that many contests. Hall of Famer Oscar Robertson turned the trick on three other occasions.

Robertson, named one of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA history in 1996, had a 26-game streak in the 1962-63 season and two years later accomplished the feat in a league-best 29 consecutive contests (1964-65). "The Big O" had a 25-gamer in the 1963-64 season.

Meanwhile, the Raptors have won four of their last seven games since a grueling eight-game losing streak and will play back-to-back road games against Miami and Washington. They are just 5-10 away from home this season.

Toronto is coming off of Friday's 106-89 win over the Wizards at Air Canada Centre, as Leandro Barbosa scored a team-best 19 points and Amir Johnson posted 18 points and 13 rebounds. Barbosa was able to shake off flu-like symptoms and missed the team's shootaround.

"It feels good, it was a breakout game for me," Johnson said. "I talked to coach, he told me just to be patient and just play."

James Johnson netted 13 points and Jose Calderon collected eight and a game- high 17 assists for the Raptors, who had a lopsided 61-37 advantage in rebounds and bounced back from a 100-64 loss at Boston on Wednesday. The 61 boards were a franchise record in regulation. Toronto had 65 rebounds in an overtime game against New York back on March 21, 1999.

Toronto's bench scored a season-high 68 points against Washington. The team can match their road win total of last season (6) with an improbable triumph Sunday against the Heat. Raptors center Andrea Bargnani missed his 11th game of the season with a nagging calf injury. Toronto is 2-9 without Bargnani, who is out indefinitely and leads the team with 23.5 points in 13 games.

The Raptors lost all four meetings with the Heat last season and are winless in the previous five contests in this series. Toronto has also lost four straight and nine of 12 trips to south Florida. Raptors forward DeMar DeRozan is averaging 16.0 points in seven career games against Miami, while James is posting 27.8 points, 7.6 rebounds and 7.6 assists in 28 career matchups with Toronto. Wade is averaging 27.5 ppg in 21 career games in this series.