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NBA Preview from The Sports Network



Tuesday, April 3rd (All times eastern)

Toronto Raptors (41-32) at Miami Heat (39-34), 7:30 p.m.

(Sports Network) - The Atlantic Division-leading Toronto Raptors open a three- game road trip against the defending world champion Miami Heat tonight at AmericanAirlines Arena.

The Raptors are seven games ahead of the second place New Jersey Nets in the Atlantic. Both teams have nine games remaining on the 2006-07 schedules.

Toronto enters tonight's game on a three-game winning streak. Chris Bosh posted 24 points and 16 rebounds, as the Raptors downed the Charlotte Bobcats, 107-94, on Sunday at Air Canada Centre to clinch a playoff berth.

Juan Dixon scored 15 points for the Raptors, who are the third seed in the Eastern Conference playoff race. T.J. Ford had 11 points and eight assists, while Anthony Parker and Jose Calderon both ended with 14 points for the Raptors, who have won five of their last six games overall.

The Raptors are 14-22 on the road this season. They will visit the Orlando Magic on Wednesday at Amway Arena and the Philadelphia 76ers on Friday at the Wachovia Center.

Miami is a half game behind division-leading Washington in the Southeast, and has played one more game than the Wizards. The Heat are the sixth seed in the East and would meet the Raptors in the opening round of the postseason if the playoffs started today.

The Heat, who return home after going 1-2 on a three-game swing, try to get back on the winning track this evening. Richard Hamilton paced a balanced Detroit attack with 19 points as the Pistons edged Miami, 94-88, on Sunday at The Palace of Auburn Hills.

Shaquille O'Neal tallied 23 points on 9-of-13 from the floor for the Heat, who have dropped four of their last six games overall. Jason Williams tallied 21 points, while Udonis Haslem had 15 points and eight rebounds in defeat.

Miami is 24-12 at home this season. The Heat will visit the Cleveland Cavaliers on Thursday at Quicken Loans Arena and the Boston Celtics on Friday at TD Banknorth Garden.

Forward Jason Kapono (high left ankle sprain/bone bruise) is questionable for tonight's contest. Kapono is averaging 11.1 points in 58 games for the Heat this season. He last played on March 5th and has missed 14 straight contests.

This is the third and final meeting of the regular season between the clubs. The teams split a pair of games, as both squads picked up a win at home.

Toronto has lost four straight after winning its last two at Miami.

04/03 10:47:58 ET


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