Raptors-Heat Preview

The Associated Press

A brief homestand for the Miami Heat features visits from the former teams of Chris Bosh and LeBron James.

Bosh is the first to get a look at his old club Sunday when the Heat look to defeat the Toronto Raptors for the sixth straight time.

Neither Bosh nor James has dropped a home game against his former team, and James will get another crack at Cleveland on Tuesday in the finale of this two-game stretch at home. Bosh, meanwhile, saw action twice in Miami's four-game sweep of Toronto (8-16) last season, totaling 37 points and 12 rebounds.

The Raptors' No. 4 overall pick in 2003 has been quiet lately, averaging 11.0 points and 5.7 boards in the last three games. His limited production didn't matter Friday as the Heat won 99-79 at Philadelphia to move ahead of the 76ers in the Eastern Conference standings.

Miami (17-6) shot 51.9 percent and made 8 of 13 3-pointers in bouncing back from Wednesday's 105-97 loss at Milwaukee that ended a five-game win streak. Dwyane Wade led six Heat players in double figures with 26 points.

"Tonight was probably the best game from start to finish, as far as playing hard and communicating on both ends, that we had all season," said James, who had 19 points, 12 rebounds and eight assists. "So it was a good win."

James credited coach Erik Spoelstra's tough practice Thursday in which the Heat broke down all aspects of the team via film and some honest communication.

"It was no-holds barred, no tongues being held," James said. "If we're going to be held to a championship standard, we need to go out and play like it. No one can take things personal if someone says something to him. We've got to take constructive criticism."

The Heat have won four straight at home, where they are averaging 105.3 points for one of the NBA's best marks. Toronto has dropped four in a row at Miami and fell by an average of 13.0 points in the four meetings last season.

At least the Raptors had Andrea Bargnani to average 29.3 points in three meetings with the Heat last season. Bargnani has replaced Bosh as the face of the franchise, but the 7-foot Italian is out with a calf injury.

Toronto dropped consecutive games to Atlanta and Boston by averaging 70.5 points on 35.6 percent shooting before taking advantage of another woeful team in Friday's 106-89 win over Washington. Leandro Barbosa, who missed Friday's shootaround with flulike symptoms, had a team-high 19 points.

"Just the overall focus I thought was good," coach Dwane Casey said. "They came out like a team that was embarrassed by what happened against Atlanta and Boston."

Amir Johnson had 18 points and 13 boards while Jose Calderon handed out a season-high 17 assists - one off the most by an NBA player this season.

"Somebody has to stay positive and keep a smile on their face, just to stay positive and keep playing," Johnson said. "We have a lot of season left."

Barbosa's 40.2 field-goal percentage versus the Heat, including 7 for 25 the last three times he faced them, is his lowest against an Eastern Conference opponent.

Wade has averaged 32.1 points in his last eight matchups with Toronto.