Raps control fate

MIKE GANTER

, Last Updated: 9:25 AM ET

The Raptors have put themselves in a position where they can dictate their own fate. They have a 11/2 game lead on the Miami Heat for third place in the conference, a position that will guarantee them home court in the first round of the playoffs.

But holding on to that lead is not going to be an easy feat.

The Raptors' final seven games include two dates with Detroit, one home and one away, two with Philadelphia, also home and away, and single games with Chicago, Minnesota and the New York Knicks.

Four of those games -- two against Philadelphia and one each against Minnesota and New York -- are against sub .500 teams.

If that sounds like an advantageous schedule, the Heat's schedule, by comparison, is a relative cakewalk.

After last night's game in Cleveland, the Heat will have home games remaining with Charlotte, Washington, Indiana, and Boston and play on the road against Boston, Charlotte and Orlando.

Only the Cavs and the Wizards are playing better than .500 ball.

Should the Raps and Miami finish tied at the end of the season, Miami would get the third seed having won the season.

DOMINANCE DISAPPEARS

The Raptors were on a huge roll in the rebounding department when they embarked on their trip, outrebounding their three previous opponents by a combined margin of 156-101.

But during their Florida swing, a win over Orlando and a loss in Miami, the Raps were bested on the boards both nights.

Miami won the battle 48-39, while Orlando had a 41-27 edge.


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