Set to kick off their last homestand of the regular season, the Southeast Division-champion Miami Heat will entertain the Toronto Raptors tonight from AmericanAirlines Arena.
Miami will also host the Bulls, Wizards and Rockets on the homestand and is 25-4 in South Beach this season. The Heat have won three in a row since dropping three of four games and are coming off Monday's 101-98 victory at New Jersey in which LeBron James scored the final 17 points for his team and finished with 37 on 11 of 19 shooting. James also had seven assists and six rebounds.
"We want to win every last game to close it out," James said on the club's website. "We don't want to lose again the rest of the season. Ultimately we can to continue to get better."
Chris Bosh had 22 points and 15 rebounds for the Heat, who were without Dwyane Wade for the second time in three games. Wade is averaging 22.6 points and is listed as questionable for tonight with a balky ankle. The Heat are 12-1 without Wade in the lineup this season.
The Heat are still alive for the top seed in the Eastern Conference, as they sit 2 1/2 games behind the Chicago Bulls with six to play. Miami will close out the regular season on the road against Boston and Washington.
Toronto will begin its final road trip of the season tonight against the Heat, Pistons and Bucks, and is 10-20 away from Air Canada Centre.
The Raptors had a two-game winning streak stopped the last time out and lost for the fifth time in seven tries with a 109-87 loss versus Atlanta Monday. DeMar DeRozan scored 22 points and James Johnson contributed 18 for Toronto, which made 44.3 percent of its shots and committed 19 turnovers for 21 Atlanta points. Alan Anderson finished with 12 points in defeat.
"They came out and made some shots," Raptors head coach Dwane Casey said about Atlanta. "I thought our disposition defensively was different than last night and I don't know why. I thought we ran out of gas."
Raptors starting point guard Jose Calderon missed his third straight game with an eye injury and he is questionable for Wednesday. Forward Linas Kleiza is also listed as questionable against the Heat for a Raptors squad already without Andrea Bargnani (calf) for the remainder of the season.
The Raptors will close out the season versus New Jersey on April 26. They will try to avoid being swept in a season series against Miami for a second straight year and are 0-2 so far in 2011-12. The Heat have won seven straight against Toronto, losers of five straight in South Beach.
Toronto has lost 13 of 18 and 14 of its last 20 at Miami.