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Toronto Raptors scorched, lose 96-76 to the Miami Heat

Unable to come back from a sluggish third quarter, the Raptors fell apart as the Heat ran away with the win, 96-76.

Robert Mayer-USA TODAY Sports

In what was to be an epic showdown between two of the Eastern Conference's better teams, the Toronto Raptors dropped tonight's game against the Miami Heat early in the third quarter and were unable to claw back.

Despite a strong game from Jonas Valanciunas (in the first half, anyway), the rest of the Raptors gradually wilted under the pressure of Miami's D and increased pace. For his part, Valanciunas led the team with 17 points on 8-of-12 shooting to go with five rebounds. The team also got a solid first half showing from James Johnson (who started in place of the injured DeMarre Carroll) with seven points and seven rebounds. Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan, likewise, got off to steady starts, with both making plays on and off the ball in equal measure.

Unfortunately, the game fell apart for the Raptors in the second half. Despite quiet games from Goran Dragic and Luol Deng, the Heat got a monster game from Hassan Whiteside (20 points, 11 rebounds, 6 blocks) and Justice Winslow (nine points and five rebounds, but his presence was felt all over the court). They gradually pushed the lead up to 74-63 to end the third, by which point the game started to feel out of reach.

The fourth quarter was horrible for the Dinos. Canadian duo Cory Joseph and Anthony Bennett (who started the quarter, for whatever reason) were largely ineffective. DeRozan was given a technical for shouting to the officials. After two back-to-back three-pointers by Bosh, the Heat lead 92-70 with five minutes remaining in the fourth and it was all over.

A couple key stats here: DeRozan and Lowry combined for 31 points, but only made 9-of-30 field goals throughout the game. They finished the game -24 and only made 2-of-10 three-point attempts. Terrence Ross was hot garbage as he missed all his four field goal attempts, finishing the night -15. And Jonas got one shot in the second half.

The Heat out rebounded the Raptors 48-38, had a 22 point lead at one point in the game, and scored 44 points in the painted area. Bosh was their highest scorer posting 23 points, including four 3s, to go with eight rebounds.

The Raptors now return home to Toronto to take on the New York Knicks on Tuesday, which hopefully will give them a chance to get back on the winning end of things.

What did you guys think of the game?