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Undermanned Heat lose 4th straight to surging Raptors 101-81

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Even with Dwyane Wade's return, the shorthanded Heat were unable to overcome streaking Toronto.

John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

The Miami Heat (23-21) suffered their 4th straight loss of the season while severely undermanned, losing to the Toronto Raptors (28-15) 101-81. It was announced beforehand that Miami would be without the services of Luol Deng (eye), Hassan Whiteside (oblique), and Goran Dragic (calf). In addition, Miami continued to be without the services of key bench contributors in Josh McRoberts (bone bruise), and Beno Udrih (neck) as well as Chris Andersen (knee).

Dwyane Wade, who many expected to be out with his shoulder issue, did, in fact, start the game, but with only nine available players and no true point guards on the roster, Miami trotted out a lineup of Tyler Johnson, Wade, Justise Winslow, Chris Bosh, and Amar'e Stoudemire, with only Josh Richardson, Jarnell Stokes, Udonis Haslem, and Gerald Green (also dealing with a knee injury that seems to have impacted his play) in reserve. Against a Toronto team that is gaining separation from the rest of the East, Miami wasn't in the game from the beginning, falling behind 9-2, and could only get as close as nine late in the 4th quarter.

Miami was completely unable to generate consistent stops, with Toronto hitting a barrage of threes in the first half and outside of Wade, Bosh, and an invigorated Udonis Haslem, Miami didn't get much production.

Kyle Lowry, selected to start in the 2016 All-Star game alongside Wade, scored 15 points and dished six assists, while DeMar DeRozan, a likely reserve selection by the coaches, led the Raptors with 33 on 12-25 shooting and an uncharacteristic 4-5 from downtown. Bosh managed to lead Miami with 26 points, while Wade added 22, but no other player cracked double figures.

Miami's already slow pace has been exacerbated by a lack of offensive weapons and guards who can get the team into an offense. They mercifully will get two days off before facing off with the Chicago Bulls at the United Center on Monday. By then, they hope to have, at minimum, Beno Udrih back, which should stabilize the ball handling unit as it did in Miami's victory against Denver. Tipoff is at 8 PM.