If Dwyane Wade is the prime recruiter for the NBA's free-agent class of 2010, he is not doing the hard sell.
Asked yesterday if Wade, who was in the Air Canada Centre for last night's game against the Toronto Raptors, had told him it was 28 degrees in Miami yesterday, Chris Bosh responded: "No"
The girls in bikinis? Nope.
The nightclubs? Proximity to Bosh's home state of Texas? "I haven't talked to Dwyane," Bosh said of the Miami Heat's star guard, who's made it clear he wants Bosh joining him when both players become unrestricted free agents in July.
Instead, the Raptors did the talking, beating the Heat 120-113. Although Toronto's 20-point lead at the half was cut to one after a rally by the Heat late in the game, the Raptors fought back with a series of three-pointers to emerge with the win.
"This is the intensity and push I'd like to have in most games," Raptors head coach Jay Triano said after the game, the Raptors' first home game after going 1-3 on a Western Conference trip.
Bosh led the Raptors with 29 points, followed by Andrea Bargnani, who finished with 24 points, including a three-pointer with less than four minutes remaining to help Toronto solidify a lead that narrowed to within one late in the final period.
The Raptors had opened a 20-point lead by the end of the half, punctuated by a three-pointer at the buzzer by Hedo Turkoglu. The Heat rallied to within one point with 3:41 remaining in the final period, before Toronto pulled away with a series of three-pointers by Bargnani and guard Jarrett Jack.
In the end, two clutch three-pointers by, with 1:48 remaining and another at the 51-second mark, sealed it for Toronto. Jack finished the game with 17 points.
"We've never had any doubts," Triano said.
Wade and guard Mario Chalmers led the scoring for the Heat (7-4) with 30 points each. Starting forward Michael Beasley had 21 points before fouling out late in the game.
Former Raptor Jermaine O'Neal scored 17 points for the Heat in his first return to his former home court.
Turkoglu, who's been struggling with a hip injury, finished with 17 points for Toronto.
The Raptors are now 6-7, and while the season's young, speculation is mounting about what might happen when it's over and some of the NBA's biggest names become free agents, including Bosh, Wade and LeBron James.
The Heat, said to have more than $15-million (U.S.) in salary-cap room, are looking for a superstar to pair with Wade. And Wade has talked about possibly luring James to South Florida while also mentioning Bosh.
Earlier this week Bosh said "anything's possible" when asked whether he'd consider moving to Miami when his contract with the Raptors ends this summer.
"I guess that seems to be an attractive place, you know, playing with Dwyane and playing in Miami and everything," Bosh told Fanhouse.com. "I guess if they had the right chemistry, the right guys, that they could persuade guys to go there. But we'll see."
James told reporters this week that he would no longer entertain questions about possible trades.
Triano said he wishes 2010 chatter would go away.
"If I was wasting my time on that, I wouldn't be focusing on the game," he said.
But Wade made no apologies for trying to woo his former Olympic teammates to Miami, a tropical city that "sells itself."
"I'm always recruiting," Wade said. "We all recruit to make our team better. We're all Olympic teammates, so we talk about the what-ifs. Everybody wants their team to be the best."
But how about turning the tables: Would Wade consider heading north to join Bosh in Toronto?
"Um, no comment on that one," Wade said. "Toronto's a beautiful city, though."
NOTES Last night was the first meeting between the Heat and the Raptors this season. ... Dwyane Wade led the Heat in all three games against Toronto last year, scoring 42, 40 and 29 points a game. ... "We just have to do a really good job of keeping in front of him and not fouling him," Raptors head coach Jay Triano said. ... The Heat were without their starting swingman, Quentin Richardson, and forward Udonis Haslem, while Raptors forward Antoine Wright was out with an injured left ankle. British forward Pops Mensah-Bonsu was playing at home in a Raptors jersey for the first time since Houston released him this week. "It's nice to have Pops back," Chris Bosh said.
NEXT Tomorrow against Orlando at the Air Canada Centre, 12:30 EST. TV CBC
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