The Toronto Raptors are suffering through a depressing period of deja vu. For the third game in four, the Raps pushed an opponent, this time no less than the NBA champion Miami Heat, to overtime – and lost. The Raps had a four point lead early in OT, but folded, giving up 11 straight points against the relentless Heat. A valiant effort, which included a Q4 comeback after being hammered for 38 Heat points in Q3, went for naught. LeBron James, who’s unfair, rang up a triple-double (31 PT/11A/10RB), which included a game-tying 3 with just over a minute to play. Dwayne Wade was also too much to handle, torching the Raps for 35. The man most responsible for OT pain was professional 3-point assassin Ray Allen, another future Hall-of-Famer (that’s 3, if you’re scoring at home) who hit 2 of his 4 long balls to blunt the Raps’ chances.
There were many positives for Raps’ fans in this brilliant game. Jose Calderon was superb, hitting 5 of 6 shots from distance, including 2 late ones. However, neither he nor Kyle Lowry led the team in assists with seven. That honour went to DeMar DeRozan, who was highly effective at driving into the key to draw the Heat defenders, then finding his front court mates Amir Johnson and Ed Davis, for easy buckets. DD added 12 points. The Bench Bombers, Alan Anderson and Terrence Ross, poured in 20 and 16 points respectively. Alan had the second of two 4-point plays (Lowry the first) in a 4-minute span late in Q2. Sadly, Alan hit nailed the first 3 he tried in OT, then missed his next four. Terrence showed sound judgement on several occasions by passing up long jumpers to attack the hoop successfully. He didn’t see the floor in OT; Ed got there only because Amir fouled out trying to block a Wade jumper. Coach Casey’s reluctance to use Ed in crunch time is troubling indeed.
Our undersized forwards were badly outrebounded on this night. In addition to that James guy, Udonis Haslem and Chris Bosh (boo!) were board masters, and the unsightly result favoured the Heat 53-28.
The Heat shot 54%, which combined with the rebounding advantage, would seem to indicate a shabby defensive effort by the Raps. I don’t think that’s the case, however. The Heat are just that good. Even the evisceration of a 15-point Raps lead didn’t hurt as much as the blown leads earlier this month, although it was the apropos prelude to another OT defeat.
Somehow the Raps will have to regroup against the Magic Thursday night in Orlando.
Brian Boake is a staff writer for Raptors Rapture. “Like” Raptors Rapture on Facebook and follow us on Twitter @RaptorsRapture for all the latest news and updates about the best damn NBA team from Canada.