Reporting Tim Kephart
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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – The Miami Heat will hit the court again tonight, but will be minus two-thirds of the Big Three when they take on the Toronto Raptors at 7:30 in the AmericanAirlines Arena.
Miami Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra said Wednesday morning that guard Dwyane Wade, power forward/center Chris Bosh, and center Ronny Turiaf will not play for the Heat tonight.
Heat forward LeBron James will play Wednesday night but also said Wednesday that he hopes to rest for a game or two near the end of the season if the standings permit. LeBron might also be playing for an MVP trophy if he plays through the end of the season.
LeBron went off in the Heat’s last game, scoring the team’s final 17 points in a victory in New Jersey. He’s carried the team when Wade’s been off the court. Without D-Wade in the lineup, James is averaging just fewer than 30 points per game.
In recent weeks as the Heat struggled, LeBron has raised his game to an even higher level to push the Heat further up the standings. Thanks to the team’s victory over the Nets and a loss by the Bulls, Miami is just 2.5 games behind the Bulls in the Eastern Conference. The Bulls visit Miami Thursday night.
“We want to win every last game to close it out,” James said. “We don’t want to lose again the rest of the season. Ultimately we can to continue to get better.”
The Heat has also been powered by a resurgent Chris Bosh in recent days after being moved to the center position in the starting lineup. Bosh responded Monday night with 22 points and 15 rebounds against the Nets.
Miami though likely won’t get a chance to come closer to the Bulls Wednesday night because the Bulls will be having a scrimmage against the woeful Charlotte Bobcats, owned by Michael Jordan. The Bobcats have lost the last 17 games in a row, tonight will likely be 18.
LeBron scored a career-high 56 points against Toronto in 2005 and has averaged 34 points and 10 rebounds against the Raptors at home since joining the Heat.
Ironically, the last time the Raptors beat the Heat was on January 27, 2010 when Bosh, then a Raptor, scored 24 points against Miami.