Miami Heat Move Atop East, Beat Toronto Raptors 93-83 - NBC 6 South Florida

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Miami Heat Move Atop East, Beat Toronto Raptors 93-83

The Miami Heat beat the Toronto Raptors 93-83 Monday evening.



    Miami Heat Move Atop East, Beat Toronto Raptors 93-83
    Miami Heat forward LeBron James (6) passes past Toronto Raptors guard Kyle Lowry (7) and forward John Salmons (25) during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Monday, March 31, 2014 in Miami. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

    LeBron James scored 32 points, Chris Bosh added 18 and the Miami Heat moved into the top spot in the Eastern Conference with a 93-83 win over the Toronto Raptors on Monday night.

    Chris Andersen scored 13 points on 5-for-5 shooting and Mario Chalmers added 12 for Miami, which was again without Dwyane Wade, Greg Oden and Ray Allen.

    Miami (51-22, .699) moved percentage points ahead of Indiana (52-23, .693), which lost at home earlier Monday night to San Antonio, 103-77. It's the first time all season that Miami has been alone atop the East.

    The Heat were down 10 midway through the second quarter, and then closed the half on a 22-9 run to take the lead and never trailed again.

    Greivis Vasquez scored 17 points, DeMar DeRozan scored 16 and Jonas Valanciunas finished with 14 points and 10 rebounds for the Raptors. Steve Novak added 13 for Toronto, which lost Kyle Lowry to a sore left knee late in the third quarter after he collided with James.

    Miami has now won 15 straight against the Raptors, the last 14 of those meetings coming since Bosh left Toronto and joined the Heat during the summer of 2010. It's the second-longest current winning streak the Heat have over an opponent; they've beaten Charlotte 16 straight times.

    Bosh had consecutive baskets in the fourth quarter, the last of them an easy breakaway, to put Miami up by nine. A possession later, after a 3-pointer from Vasquez, James split a pair of defenders on the dribble and found Toney Douglas for a right-wing 3. And after a stop on the ensuing Miami trip, James got a wild layup to fall while getting fouled.

    A few moments later, the Heat could go check the Indiana score and learn they were finally atop the East — a stunningly quick turn of events after Miami lost to the Pacers just five nights earlier.

    Wade was out again with a hamstring problem, Oden was sidelined as he recovers from back spasms and Allen hasn't been around the team for nearly a week because of a nasty flu virus that struck his family before getting to him. Coach Erik Spoelstra said all three are improving, and it's likely at least some could return when Miami hosts Milwaukee on Wednesday night.

    Predictably, given the way Toronto — which is fighting for the third-best record in the East — has been playing, this one didn't come easily.

    Miami's lead was 71-57 after a thunderous dunk by James with about 4 minutes left in the third quarter, and the margin was still 11 when Andersen got a tip-in to drop with 10:03 remaining.

    The Raptors then scored the next eight points, closing to 78-75 before Andersen's three-point play with 7:50 left ended a brief Miami drought. That's also the moment James checked back into the game, and the Heat closed it out from there.

    NOTES: Monday was the start of a five-game homestand for the Heat, who face Milwaukee, Minnesota, New York and Brooklyn before going back on the road. ... Toronto hasn't beaten Miami since Jan. 27, 2010.