Raptors win against Heat becomes instant classic in triple OT

MIAMI, FLORIDA - JANUARY 29: Fred VanVleet #23 of the Toronto Raptors (Photo by Eric Espada/Getty Images)
MIAMI, FLORIDA - JANUARY 29: Fred VanVleet #23 of the Toronto Raptors (Photo by Eric Espada/Getty Images) /

The Toronto Raptors went into Saturday night mentally prepared to take on the mighty Miami Heat on the road. Even without Kyle Lowry in the lineup, Fred VanVleet and Gary Trent Jr. needed to be scared of a Heat team making a run at the top spot in the Eastern Conference.

The Heat showed why they should be taken seriously, as they withstood a white-hot start to the second half from Toronto and forced overtime following the erasure of a 16-point deficit. After some clutch Scottie Barnes free throws, Toronto was able to even it up at 100-100 going into overtime.

The two teams were both sucking wind in the final stanzas, trading bad turnovers and ill-advised shots until a winner emerged. It took 15 extra minutes, but a win was finally decided in what became one of the most exhilarating regular-season games in went Raptors franchise history.

It took three overtimes and 63 minutes, but the Raptors pulled out a 124-120 win that saw them take home their first triple-overtime victory since Doug Christie scored 35 points in a win against the Magic during the 1998 season. The training staff better have the ice ready after that game.

110. Final/OT. 124. 81. 120

The Toronto Raptors barely escaped with a win against the Miami Heat.

All five starters played at least 53 minutes in this game. Trent led the way with 33 points on 13-28 shooting, while Pascal Siakam and OG Anunoby both recorded double-doubles. With four steals and four blocks to his name, Siakam had himself one of the best defensive nights of his career.

Barnes compiled 22 points and nine rebounds against some elite competition, as he was hitting some big shots late in this game. While VanVleet was off for most of the night, he woke up when it counted, nailing several deep 3-pointers to help Toronto prevail.

At the risk of being a bit of a party pooper, one of the main reasons this situation even came about was the lack of a consistent bench. The bench combined for just 37 minutes and nine total points, eight of which came from Precious Achiuwa. This was as fun as any game you’ll see all year, but not sustainable.

Still, now is not the time for second-guessing rotation decisions. Those who stayed up late were rewarded with a pulse-pounding masterpiece of a game that will be discussed for years to come.

Oh, and they beat the top team in the East on the road. Not bad.

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