Miami (24-57) at Toronto (24-56)

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  • Game info: 7:00 pm EDT Tue Apr 15, 2003
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With the final day of the NBA season approaching, the two winningest coaches in league history are about to put an end to the worst seasons of their respective careers.

Pat Riley and the Miami Heat play their season finale when they visit Lenny Wilkens and the Toronto Raptors.

Wilkens is the NBA’s all-time winningest coach with 1,292 victories, while Riley is second with 1,109 wins.

This season, however, wins have been few and far between for both coaches.

Miami is in last place in the Atlantic Division with a 24-57 record, while Toronto is seventh in the Central with a 24-56 mark. Only the Cleveland Cavaliers and Denver Nuggets have worse records.

Riley coached his team to a .500 record and the playoffs in his first 19 seasons, but he missed the postseason for the first time in his career after Miami went 36-46 last season.

The Heat have lost seven of eight and are 7-25 since the All-Star break. They are averaging 85.3 points, second-fewest in the NBA, and have scored 100 points or more in just nine of their 81 contests.

Miami hasn’t won back-to-back contests since a three-game winning streak from Dec. 27-Jan. 1.

“It was a difficult season for everybody,” Miami center Brian Grant said.

Wilkens and the Raptors have been plagued by injuries all season, part of the reason Wilkens also now owns the NBA record for most career coaching losses.

Wilkens passed Bill Fitch with his 1,107th career loss on April 4, and Toronto has since gone on to lose five straight to push the total to 1,112 defeats.

For extended periods of time this season, the Raptors have been without Vince Carter, Antonio Davis, Eric Montross, Lamond Murray, Maceo Baston, Lindsey Hunter and Voshon Lenard.

It got so bad for Toronto that in its last game, a 94-86 loss to New Jersey, injured point guard Alvin Williams put on his uniform and sat on the bench just so the Raptors would have the league minimum of eight dressed players.

“Hopefully, we’ll improve and get the help that we need to make sure we don’t have another season like we just had,” Davis said.

Toronto concludes its season Wednesday in Cleveland.

STANDINGS (through April 13): Heat - 7th place, 25 1/2 GB, Atlantic Division. Raptors - 7th place, 25 GB, Central Division.

PROBABLE STARTERS: Heat - F Malik Allen, F Caron Butler, C Grant, G Rasual Butler, G Anthony Carter. Raptors - F Jerome Williams, F Chris Jefferies, C Mamadou N’diaye, G Morris Peterson, G Rafer Alston.

TEAM LEADERS: Heat - Eddie Jones, 18.5 ppg; Grant, 10.3 rpg; Anthony Carter, 4.2 apg. Raptors - Vince Carter, 20.6 ppg; Jerome Williams, 9.0 rpg; Alvin Williams, 5.3 apg.


LAST MEETING: April 8; Heat, 89-83. At Miami, the game was tied at 83 with just under three minutes left, but neither team scored until Anthony Carter drove the lane and floated in an uncontested layup with 33 seconds left to lead the Heat to the win.

ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Heat - 8-32 on the road; Raptors - 15-25 at home.

INJURIES: Heat - G Jones (ankle); C-F Sean Marks (elbow); C Alonzo Mourning (kidney). Raptors - G Vince Carter (ankle); C Davis (groin); G Hunter (back); C Montross (foot); F Murray (foot); G Lenard (knee); F Baston (ankle); G Alvin Williams (ankle); C Hakeem Olajuwon (back).

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