It was a tough loss for the Toronto Raptors tonight. The Raps definitely left everything on the court as the Heat pulled away in the last minutes of the fourth quarter. The game ended off with a final score of 102-97. A better start to the fourth quarter and a few more made free throws could have been the difference in the result of this game.
Starting the game, Miami took a small lead as they constantly drove to the net and got the ball inside to LeBron James. The referees were calling a tight game, but it went both ways sending both clubs to the line early and often. The result was a choppy affair early, but for every blow Miami struck, Toronto hit right back. The first quarter ended with a tie of 29-29 with Toronto shooting 62% from the field and 58% from beyond the arc. This shooting percentage needed to last throughout the entire game to ensure a win.
The second quarter began with DeMar DeRozan knocking down some key baskets off the dribble. However, the Raptors allowed Miami to grab multiple rebounds, which resulted in second chance points. Toronto also failed to take care of the ball, which resulted in several turnovers. On many occasions, the ball was simply stripped out of their hands. After 10 lead changes and seven ties, Miami held a one point lead going into the second half. DeRozan finished the second quarter shooting 8 for 10 from the field and Patrick Patterson was 4 for 9 and at halftime the Dinos were only down by 1.
The teams continued exchanging leads in the third quarter. The Raptors pulled away early in the quarter as Amir Johnson and Jonas Valanciunas finished hard inside. But despite their strong play, with four minutes left in the quarter, Miami came back with a 9 point run to bring the game to a tie once again. John Salmons knocked down a three to break the run and Toronto held a slight lead going into the final period of play.
The fourth quarter was nothing pretty for the Raptors. Overall, their offense throughout the entire quarter was sloppy as the club too often found itself at the end of the shot clock hoisting up a desperation shot. Miami on the other hand went to LeBron for their baskets and suddenly the Heat again had the lead. Both teams played tight defense but Miami again pulled down the majority of the boards and this, combined with Toronto's offensive woes (they scored only 13 points in the quarter) made it very tough for Toronto to reclaim their lead. Dwyane Wade pulled up for two points and put the score at 94-91 for the Heat late in the game and the Raps were unable to respond. Kyle Lowry had a chance with seconds left to tie but his three-point shot did not fall and that was it. However, it is all the little things that make up a win. Shooting 12-21 from the foul line isn’t enough when playing the best team in the league. The game finished with a final score of 102-97.
Game MVP is shared between DeRozan (who finished with 26 points, 7 assists, 4 rebounds and 2 steals) and Amir Johnson (17 points, 8 rebounds and 2 assists.) Finally, Lebron James ended the game with 30 points 4 rebounds and 5 assists for the Heat.
It was tough to see the Raps lose this one, but the team has to be holding its head high tonight about the way they competed against the two-time NBA Champs.
Sarah’s Eye: Landry Fields finally made an appearance with four minutes of play and an assist. As well, what is tattooed on Chris Andersen’s neck?