Raptors fans must have felt they had seen this movie before, because once again, the Raptors got off to a slow start and spent most of the game playing catch up. Like the game against the Nets, the Raptors rallied with a fourth quarter run. They chipped into the Heat lead to bring it within two points only to fail to make crucial free throws down the stretch allowing the Heat to win their ninth straight game 90-83.
For most of the first half Miami looked to be in cruise control. Their ball movement was on point (17 assists at the half) and the combo of Lebron and Wade had their way on the offensive end. While Rudy and DeMar kept up with them in the scoring category, the Raptors got very little from the rest of the team on either end of the floor. Miami shot 57% for the half while the Raptors hovered around 40% for the duration of the game. Kyle Lowry joined the mix in the second half allowing the Raptors to make a final push and the defence tightened up but it was once again a little too late. This is a 48 minute game and the Raptors have yet to consistently treat it as one.
One look at the boxscore and you would think this game was a blowout. The continued confidence from DeMar DeRozan and winning the battle on the boards kept things respectable for the Raptors who at 6-9 still find them leading the Atlantic devision.
25 points for DeRozan who seems to have found a groove over the last few games. Coming into tonight, he was the scoring leader in the NBA over the last five games. Not only is he scoring but he has been doing it with efficiency. Asked post-game about his play, he summed it up in one word; “Confidence“.
43 rebounds for the Raptors and ended the night +7 on the boards. The number is even more impressive since the Raptors went small ball for a ton of the night. Gay and DeRozan each chipped in with seven a piece.
21 turnovers is bad on most nights. Against a team like Miami who love to run on the break it spells disaster. The Heat scored 26 points off the turnovers and had 13 fast break points, while the Raptors managed just two.
2-10 from the FT line in the 4th quarter. That was the killer. The Raptors did everything to get back into the game but were unable to take advantage of the opportunities late. “Missed opportunities,” said Dwane Casey after the game. “We had opportunities at the free throw line. We missed eight free throws in that stretch.”
2 stitches for Tyler Hansbrough who logged 25 minutes on the floor. Undeterred by the nick he took in the first half, he grabbed 12 rebounds to go with eight points. “You could hit him with a Mack truck and he’s going to get back up and keep playing hard,” said DeMar after the game about his teammates tenacious demeanour.
27% from three point range as neither Ross or Novak were able to find their stroke tonight. There were open looks through the night as Miami packed it in the paint, but the two combined to go 1-10 from deep.
44-22 the Miami Heat outscored the Raptors in the paint. Casey’s love affair with small ball continues and this number is no surprise with Amir and Jonas logging a combined 34 minutes.