The Toronto Raptors played even for 48 minutes but eventually lost to the Miami Heat in overtime. What were the game’s biggest takeaways?
A dog fight broke out in Scotiabank Arena last night. In a matchup between two of the top teams in the Eastern Conference, we saw defense, scrappiness, and a bit of sloppiness. The Toronto Raptors and Miami Heat battled for this game that like it mattered more than your standard regular season contest.
The Heat held the lead all game. And while the Raptors were always within striking distance, it felt as if they could never find the final push needed to tie the game up or to take the lead. Then, in the final few minutes of the fourth, they made their push. Led by a huge Norman Powell performance, Toronto tied the game up and went to overtime.
The extra period was decided almost exclusively by Jimmy Butler. He ripped off the period’s first seven points and essentially ended the game before extra time even started. The Heat went into Toronto and came out with a victory.
But what did we learn from this early season showdown? There were a few things that stood out.
Miami is a very good defensive team. They’re long, they’re athletic, and they have a variety of switchable forwards who can guard multiple positions. Coming into this contest, they ranked 8th in the NBA in defensive efficiency.
But the Raptors offense struggled in large part due to their inability to hit open shots. Toronto finished 11-43 from beyond the arc, with seemingly everyone but Fred VanVleet and Serge Ibaka going ice-cold. Kyle Lowry, in his first game back from injury, went a frigid 0-11.
It’s hard to generate points consistently when you can’t make teams pay from the perimeter. And with the Raptors shooting under 30-percent while the Heat made nearly 40-percent of their looks, it’s no surprise who came out on top of this contest.
Of course, making shots is part of the game, and this doesn’t mean the Raptors outplayed the Heat, as they certainly didn’t. However, when looking at future matchups, it’s safe to assume the Raptors will shoot it better.