The Toronto Raptors came into Sunday's game against the Miami Heat on a five-game winning streak. They had a lot of confidence going in and were playing their best basketball of the year. To be able to go into Miami and beat the two-time defending champions would be a huge push forward for this Raptors team.
The game stayed close throughout, with both teams throwing punches. There were several lead changes in the game as neither team could get on a big run. In the third quarter, the Raptors got up by nine – their biggest lead of the game. The Heat trimmed the deficit to five to end the quarter. It looked as if the Raptors could pull off a big win in Miami, but the Heat showed their composure and really locked in on defense by holding the Raptors to just 13 points in the fourth quarter.
The Raptors had a chance to tie the game with less than 10 seconds left, but a Kyle Lowry three pointer rimmed out and the Heat grabbed the rebound. Although the Raptors lost the game and several players on the team have said there are no "moral victories", they should feel encouraged about the way they played and held their own against the Heat.
Points By Quarter
Here are some notes from the game:
- The Heat came into the game as the worst rebounding team in the NBA, but it certainly didn't show. They dominated the Raptors on the boards, winning 42-34. The Heat grabbed 14 offensive rebounds which led to second chance opportunities and tired the Raptors out.
- The Raptors uncharacteristically had a rough night at the free throw line, shooting 12-21. When playing against a team like the Miami Heat, every point matters and they can't afford to miss nine free throws in such a close game.
- LeBron James was the game's high-scorer with 30 points on 12-18 shooting. LeBron also added five assists and four rebounds and was clutch for the Heat in the fourth quarter, putting them back on top.
- Dwyane Wade played almost 35 minutes for the Heat, marking the first time in two months that he has played in both games during a back-to-back stretch. Wade finished the game with 14 points and nine rebounds. With Wade playing, you could tell that the Heat felt threatened by the Raptors and wanted to do everything they could to seal the victory.
- DeMar DeRozan led the Raptors with 26 points, seven assists and four rebounds. DeRozan had a strong first half, but struggled down the stretch due to poor shot selection and tight Miami defense.
- Raptors forward Amir Johnson had 17 points, eight rebounds and three blocks, while point guard Kyle Lowry had 14 points, nine assists and three steals.
- Michael Beasley had 17 points and four rebounds off the bench for the Heat. The Raptors bench was outscored 43-15.
- Heat point guard Mario Chalmers left the game in the second quarter due to an achilles injury. He did not return.
NEXT GAME: Tuesday, January 7 @ Indiana Pacers. 7 pm. ET
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