Heat on Raps backcourt

LANCE HORNBY, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:23 AM ET

The Raptors might sport a different look today, but their mission remains the same:

Stop, or at least slow up, the Miami Heat's shooting guard Dwyane Wade and break the losing spiral that has set in four of their past five games.

Wade, the second-best scorer in the NBA at present, leads the Heat into the Air Canada Centre, giving Raptors counterpart Anthony Parker a full plate.

The point guard battle will see Will Solomon, who will start for aching Jose Calderon, take on sizzling Miami rookie Mario Chalmers. Calderon looked and felt better yesterday, the benefit of three days' recovery from a mild hamstring pull, but it's not enough for coach Sam Mitchell to rubber-stamp him to go the distance this afternoon.

"I will probably start Will," said Mitchell, who can then work in Calderon or rookie Roko Ukic. "Jose did some jogging and got some shots up (yesterday) and it depends how he feels (today). But it doesn't make any sense to warm him up to (start) and then sit him on the bench to get cold."

Calderon also lifted weights and rode a bike yesterday.

"If every day has been better for me, then (today) should be best," Calderon said.

Another lineup adjustment could see Mitchell give some quality time to Jason Kapono or Joey Graham at small forward ahead of starter Jamario Moon.

Wade will be well-rested for Toronto, taking Friday's night's fourth quarter off after his 12 points in 12 minutes during a 20-1 run that routed the Washington Wizards 97-77. He had 24 points on the night to put his average at 27.8, just behind league-leader LeBron James of Cleveland.

Wade fell off of the NBA map to a degree after Miami won the 2006 NBA title, enduring two 51-game seasons marred by shoulder woes among other ailments, while the Heat went through a dizzying series of injuries and player moves that reduced it to 15 wins last year.

But emulating Toronto's Chris Bosh, Wade used the recent Olympics as a springboard, winning gold with Team USA, averaging 16 points and four rebounds off the bench in eight games.

"He picked up where he left off (in Beijing) and he's playing with a lot of confidence and breaking defences down," Bosh said.

"We have our work cut out for us trying to stop him, (forwards) Shawn Marion, Michael Beasley and (Udonis) Haslem."

Marion came off a two-game rest from a groin injury to lead a nine-minute shutout of Wizards' field goals, while Beasley, the second pick overall in the NBA draft, had 19 points and continues to rank among more veteran league leaders.

"I watched their game last night," Calderon said. "They rebound, they run, they're a good young team."


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