Heat hope to end road woes in Toronto

March 30, 2012

Tune into Sun Sports at 6:30 p.m. to watch the Miami Heat take on the Toronto Raptors. NBA Heat territory.

Coming off yet another win at home, the Miami Heat hope they can take that momentum and finally start to turn things around on the road.

The Heat look to make it seven straight wins over the Toronto Raptors when the teams meet Friday night at Air Canada Centre.

After back-to-back losses at Oklahoma City and Indiana, Miami responded with a 106-85 win over visiting Dallas on Thursday in a rematch of last year's NBA finals.

It was the first time in seven games the Heat (36-13) topped 100 points. After averaging 88.3 in the previous three games, they had 60 at the half against the Mavericks. LeBron James and Chris Bosh led six players in double figures with 19 points apiece.

"We just worked our habits," James said. "The best thing about tonight, we didn't take another step backwards like we did the last two games. And it was good to see."

James shot 8 of 16, perhaps at least temporarily quieting concerns after he dislocated his ring finger on his non-shooting hand in the loss to the Pacers on Monday. He's also been dealing with a troublesome right elbow and hadn't shot better than 45.0 percent in five straight games before Thursday.

Coach Erik Spoelstra is eager to see if his team, which has won 15 straight at home, can carry that success over to the road.

Miami has lost six of eight away from American Airlines Arena, averaging 91.3 points. The last two losses to the Thunder and Pacers were by an average of 15.5 points.

"It's time for a response on the road," Spoelstra said. "We will take this win. This is a great team win against a very good team. But we have to move on and now let's take care of business on the road."

Taking better care of the ball would help improve the Heat's road play. They've averaged 17.8 turnovers in their last four games away from home.

A visit to Toronto could also help.

The Heat made it six straight wins over the Raptors with a 95-89 victory on Feb. 5 behind 30 points from James, who is averaging 28.6 points in his last 13 meetings with the Raptors.

Toronto has a chance to win two in a row for the first time since Jan. 24-25, but will have to withstand the loss of backup point guard Jerryd Bayless, who is expected to miss the remainder of the season after an MRI on Tuesday revealed a partial tear of his left oblique.

The Raptors (17-34) responded to that bad news with a 105-96 win over Denver on Wednesday, snapping a two-game losing streak.

Andrea Bargnani scored 26 points, Jose Calderon added 10 points and 10 assists and Toronto rallied from six down in the final quarter, holding the Nuggets to 3-of-20 shooting in the period.

Bargnani's 26 points were his most since returning from a 26-game absence with a calf injury. He scored five straight points to put the Raptors up 103-96 with 2:35 left.

"He had a pep in his step," coach Dwane Casey said. "He had the same pep that he had prior to the injury. I wanted to go to him as much as possible and make sure we took advantage of it."

DeMar DeRozan returned with 17 points after missing the previous two games with a sore left ankle.