(SportsNetwork.com) - The Toronto Raptors are back home Friday night after an unsuccessful road trip and in desperate need of a victory when the Miami Heat visit Air Canada Centre.
The Raptors went 0-3 on the trek, but trouble runs much deeper. Toronto has lost four in a row and is 1-9 in its last 10.
The Raptors haven't lost any ground in the Atlantic Division with the Brooklyn Nets struggling as well, but the Raps fell to fourth in the Eastern Conference after being in second most of the season.
"We've got to string together 46-47 minutes of focus and intensity," Raptors coach Dwane Casey said after Thursday's practice. "Those teams are playing at a playoff level and we've got to get to that level."
On Tuesday, the losing streak reached four with a 117-107 loss to the defending champion San Antonio Spurs.
Kyle Lowry supplied 32 points and five assists, while Amir Johnson added 16 points and 14 boards for Toronto. DeMar DeRozan finished with 21, while Lou Williams chipped in 11 and Patrick Patterson grabbed 10 rebounds in the losing cause.
The Raptors trailed by 20 at the half, but played better in the second half. It wasn't enough.
"We've literally been getting our (behind) kicked," Lowry said.
Things don't get easier for the Raptors. Despite the gap in the standings, the Heat have owned Toronto in recent history. The Heat have won 16 straight against the Raptors. The last time Miami lost to the Raptors was Jan. 27, 2010.
The Heat have prevailed in each of their last seven games in Toronto.
Miami has won four of its last six as it clings to playoff life. The four-time Eastern Conference champions own the eighth spot in the Eastern Conference, just a game behind the red-hot Indiana Pacers and a half-game ahead of the Charlotte Hornets.
On Wednesday, the Heat knocked off the Brooklyn Nets, 104-98.
Dwyane Wade scored 28 points and handed out nine assists to lead Miami.
Chris Andersen tied a career-high with 18 points and added a season-high 14 rebounds as the Heat won for the second time in three games. Goran Dragic returned from a two-game absence due to a back injury to record 17 points.
"Guys are fighting for each other," said Heat coach Erik Spoelstra.
Despite leading by as many as 16 in the fourth, Miami needed clutch plays from its backcourt to close out the game.
With a minute left, Brooklyn's Jarrett Jack hit a layup to cut the Heat's lead to 101-96. At the other end, Mario Chalmers drained a 3 and forced a Nets timeout. After Jack's 3 out of the timeout, Wade knocked down a pair of free throws. Out of another timeout, Dragic stole the ball, and Miami held on from there.
The Heat return to South Beach for three straight, starting Monday with a high-profile matchup against LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers.
The Raptors and Heat meet again April 11 in Miami.