Jan 5, 2014; Miami, FL, USA; Toronto Raptors shooting guard DeMar DeRozan (10) shoots over Miami Heat point guard Mario Chalmers (15) during the first half at American Airlines Arena. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Miami Heat 102 - Toronto Raptors 97: fadeout in Q4

The Toronto Raptors needed to play a perfect game against the Miami Heat, and weren’t far away. Sadly, less than stellar shooting from beyond the arc and the charity stripe spelled defeat at the hands of the powerhouse Heat. A sluggish start to the fourth quarter meant the lead, created during a fine Q3, slipped away, not to return.  Despite the offensive meltdown in Q4, if Kyle Lowry’s 3-ball with 4 seconds left had splashed, the game would have gone to overtime. While I’m not big on the idea of a good loss, if there is such a thing, this game was a shining example.

Jan 5, 2014; Miami, FL, USA; Miami Heat shooting guard Dwyane Wade (left) stands next to Miami Heat small forward LeBron James (right) during the second half against the Toronto Raptors at American Airlines Arena. Miami won 102-97. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

The Raptors scoring parade was led by the evergreen DeMar DeRozan. He has flourished on the perimeter since Rudy Gay’s departure, and on this night was 11 of 19 on his way to 26 points. He also drew enough defensive attention to dish 7 assists, another element of his ever-improving skill set. Kyle Lowry handed out 9 dimes with only 1 turnover, although he has had better scoring nights. Making only 2 of 8 tries from distance was uncharacteristic of his recent play. Jonas Valanciunas missed only one each of field goal and free throw to get 17 points. He’s had better nights on the glass, with only 5 boards. Amir Johnson also had 17, blocked 3 shots, and led the team in rebounding with 8. The Raps were outrebounded 42-34 by a Heat team that usually “loses” this particular stat.

Chris Bosh had 11 of Miami’s rebounds, but was held to 8 points, none in the first half. LeBron James led the scoring for the home team (now there’s a surprise!), pouring in 30, and adding 5 assists. His last two points were free throws, as he grabbed the board following Lowry’s miss and was hacked by Terrence Ross. That was TR’s 6th foul, and his night was done. Continuing his frustrating pattern, this was one of TR’s off nights. While he had a decent defensive effort, it’s hard to live with 8 points and just one board in 33+ minutes.

Landry Fields got to peel off his sweats for a brief appearance, with no impact. The Raps bench was of little help beyond Patrick Patterson’s 11 points. Greivis Vasquez took no shots, though he did manage 2 assists.

The Raps’ five-game win streak is history, and they will have a tough time starting their next one. The team is in Indianapolis tomorrow night for a game against the 27-6 Pacers, who will no doubt be itching for a chance to avenge their defeat last week in Toronto.

Brian Boake is Senior Editor 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.

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Tags: DeMar DeRozan LeBron James Miami Heat Toronto Raptors

  • Rowdy101

    Hi Brian,
    The Raps played well, lost and now we move on. As a team, they are way ahead of expectations, but are playing a consistent type of ball that will win lots this year. It is great to watch.
    In my opinion, this was the one game where a well-playing Rudy Gay type would have helped to match the heroics of Lebron. The go-to guy, game-breaker, or whatever you want to call him wasn’t there to save the situation for the Raptors.
    From the GM point of view, this game exposed the difference between the teams, and the ability of Lebron to take over a game. The Raps may squeeze the odd game against Miami, but not often without a game-breaker.
    We have not seen the end of Masai’s work.

    • Newmarket_Brian

      Hi Rowdy:
      Give this group another season together, and I’ll bet we’ll have that game-breaker. He’s on the roster, and his name is Terrence Ross.
      I’m sticking to my guns. I don’t expect Masai to do much of anything for 2 more weeks. After Jan. 25, we’ll have completed a nasty spell of 5 games in 7 nights, and Masai will have a strong sense of whether this team should be allowed to carry on, or be blown up.
      Sometimes the best action is none at all. It’s going to be interesting either way.
      Thanks for commenting.

      • Rowdy101

        Good point. We shall watch Mr. Ross with great interest.
        So it’s not DeRozan?

        • Newmarket_Brian

          Hi Rowdy:
          I love DeRozan; he and Amir are the heart & soul of the Raps. DD’s game has grown in capability every season, which is remarkable. But I haven’t seen an athlete in a Raps uniform like Ross since the early days of Vince Carter. Nobody has yet seen all that TR can do, including himself, but we’re catching glimpses.
          Let’s all stay tuned.

  • cd hall

    Can you answer a question for me? It’s regarding an income tax situation for players who play for the Raptors.I’ve read that players get taxed 2 times when they play for the Raps which doesn’t make any sense to me. So hopefully you will know the answer.
    Let’s say player A plays for Toronto and makes 10Mil per year and lives in Chicago.
    Player B makes 10 mil per year but plays for Chicago and lives in Chicago.
    Would there be any difference in their take home pay at the end of the year?
    If you know the answer, please let me know how the tax situation works. Thanks in advance.

  • Guy

    Happy New Year Brian/Everyone,

    I view this game much the same way I viewed the two earlier losses to San Antonio…. elite teams make you pay for mistakes & Miami made the Raps pay. Other than the officiating being characteristically tilted in Miami’s favor, the main Raptor problems last night, as I saw it, were the following:
    -12-21(57%) FT shooting. This was killer.
    -Gave up too many offensive rebounds.
    -Poor shooting night for Lowry/Patterson
    -First four minutes of the 4th Q…. didn’t score a point.
    -Missed HansBro coming off the bench

    Had those things happened 6-7 weeks ago, this likely would have been a very lopsided win for the Heat. But last night, the game was up for grabs with 20 seconds left. The Raps were a bit short-handed without HansBro, didn’t play their best game but pushed the 2-time champs to the brink in their own building.

    On Ujiri’s to-do list when he took over was to change the culture. Well, that’s happening right before our eyes. The way they’re playing, the look they have, the poise, the heart, the commitment to team ball & defense…. Completely different to the teams we’ve seen the past 4-5 years. If Ujiri ultimately decides to tear it down, okay…. but I’d rather see him add to the current core.