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.
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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