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MIAMI – Dwyane Wade spent the entire fourth quarter on the bench, and the majority of Miami’s home crowd was long gone by the final buzzer.
The Heat couldn’t have been more pleased. Michael Beasley tied his career high with 28 points and added 11 rebounds, Wade added 19 and the Heat snapped a four-game home slide by topping the Toronto Raptors 115-95 on Tuesday night.
“I had attitude. I’ve still got attitude,” Beasley said. “I think it’s been long enough for me playing average. I’m just kind of mad at myself for not stepping out of the box. I’m kind of angry right now.”
There wasn’t much for the Heat to be angry about, not after getting a much-needed win – especially after getting trounced by 28 points at home against Memphis two nights earlier. Dorell Wright had 16 points and eight rebounds off the bench for Miami, which shot nearly 52 per cent and built as much as a 25-point lead for only the second game this season.
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“The thing about this group, there is a purity of heart and that’s something that we talked about,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. “We were all embarrassed the last couple games. There’s a lot of pride in that locker-room.”
Chris Bosh scored 28 points on 9-of-13 shooting for Toronto, but grabbed only two rebounds in 32 minutes. Andrea Bargnani added 14 and Hedo Turkoglu scored 12 for the Raptors, who fell to 4-11 on the road and were outscored 52-30 in the paint.
“It was a key part of the game, but everybody outscores us in the paint,” Bosh said. “What makes it disappointing is we have been talking about it for so long. … We have to take the attitude that it’s not going to happen anymore. Until that happens, we are going to be a so-so team.”
That’s the level Miami came in trying to escape.
After a 6-1 start, the Heat had lost 10 of 15, and held team meetings both Sunday after the Memphis loss and again at practice Monday to reiterate the core values put in place during training camp.
For one night, it worked.
Miami’s night started auspiciously, with the word that Mario Chalmers – who had been the starter at point guard for every game in his Heat career, all 104 in the regular season and seven more in last season’s playoffs – would be coming off the bench and Carlos Arroyo would get the start. Chalmers was benched because he was late to shootaround on Tuesday.
Arroyo responded, matching his season high with 12 points. Chalmers finished with six points and eight assists in 27 minutes.
“I took a lot of pride (in the streak),” Chalmers said. “That was a chip on my shoulder, one of them. But it’s over and done with, and we go on to the next one.”
Other than that, everything seemed right again for the Heat.
Miami held an opponent under 100 points for the first time in seven games, held the Raptors to 45 per cent from the floor and 2-of-11 from three-point range, had a 45-32 edge in rebounding and erased a slight early deficit by outscoring Toronto 67-48 in the middle two quarters. It was enough to give Wade, who is nursing a sore right wrist, the final 12 minutes off to rest for Thursday against Orlando.
“I’ll take it,” Wade said.
Beasley scored 14 of his points in the second quarter, helping the Heat take a 60-50 lead into the break.
“When a team gets 60 in the first half, they are in a pretty good offensive rhythm,” Raptors guard Jarrett Jack said. “And it’s tough to knock guys out of that rhythm.”
And in the fourth, Miami put it away.
The Heat, who never led by more than two points in either of their two previous games, saw their cushion swell past 20 for just the third game this season and first since taking a 28-point lead against Denver on Nov. 6. Wright had a dunk for a 97-76 lead, the start of him scoring seven straight Miami points, and another slam off a miss by Beasley put Miami up 102-80 with 8:02 remaining.
“Beas had a great game, very focused, you could tell from the get-go,” Wade said. “D-Wright came in and played an awesome game as well. It’s great to see that guys have that confidence.”
NOTES: After shooting 9-of-30 in his last two games, Beasley made his first five shots. … Wade is two attempts shy of tying Alonzo Mourning for the most free throws taken in Heat history. Mourning attempted 3,986 in his time with Miami. … The Raptors are 8-0 when holding teams under 100 points, 3-16 when not. … Raptors coach Jay Triano will participate in the 2010 Vancouver Olympic torch relay Thursday.