The Miami Heat seem unstoppable at home and will leave the friendly confines of AmericanAirlines Arena to take on the Toronto Raptors tonight north of the border.
Miami has won 15 in a row as the host and improved to 21-2 in south Florida following last night's 106-85 victory over the Dallas Mavericks in a rematch of last year's NBA Finals. LeBron James and Chris Bosh both scored 19 points and pulled down nine rebounds, while Dwyane Wade and Udonis Haslem contributed 16 points apiece.
The Heat snapped a two-game skid in their return home from a three-game road swing (1-2) and won for the fifth time in seven tries.
"You always want to defend your home court. Hopefully this will give us a bit of momentum," said Bosh. "As long as we keep elevating our play day by day, we will be in the right spot come April."
Seeded second in the Eastern Conference, the Southeast Division-leading Heat will play back-to-back road games against the Raptors and Celtics. They have lost two in a row away from home and are 15-11 as the guest this season. James is currently dealing with a finger injury and should be good to go Friday.
Toronto will continue a five-game homestand tonight and recorded a 105-96 triumph over Denver on Wednesday behind Andrea Bargnani's 26 points and 17 from DeMar DeRozan. DeRozan had missed the previous two games with an ankle injury.
Linas Kleiza chipped in 15 points and Jose Calderon recorded his 10th double- double of the season with 10 points and 10 assists. Calderon has recorded 10 or more assists in four consecutive games.
"It was fun out there tonight," said Bargnani. "I had so many open threes and I hit a couple of tough ones too."
Bargnani became the fourth Raptor to score 6,000 career points (6,013). He is averaging 14.3 points and 5.0 rebounds this month (12 games). The Raptors, who won for only the second time in the past seven tries, opened the homestand with a loss to Orlando and are 9-16 at Air Canada Centre this season. They will also host Washington and Charlotte up north.
The Raptors dropped a 95-89 decision at Miami on Feb. 5 this season and are winless in the past six meetings between the teams. Toronto has won six of the previous nine encounters as the host, however.