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Heat Blast Raptors 104-89


NBA: Toronto Raptors at Miami Heat Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

In a game where the Raptors appeared to forget how to play both offence and defence, the result was as ugly as you’d expect.

The first quarter started... badly, to say the least. The Raptors’ offence sputtered out of the gate, but was buoyed by Jonas Valanciunas dominating the offensive boards, keeping the team afloat in spite of numerous missed jumpers (he had 6 points and 4 rebounds in 7 first quarter minutes, and would end the game with 10 and 10 on 5/6 shooting, in only 20 minutes played). On the other end, there was no such respite - Toronto’s perimeter defenders (especially Serge Ibaka early on) just could not keep track of shooters, as Miami started 7 of 7 from the field, including 4 of 4 from long distance.

4 minutes into the game, the Raptors were down 18-8. The offence settled down a little (with still more help from some offensive rebounding making up for missed, tough jumpers), and the Heat missed a few shots, and by the time the Raptors went to the bench, the lead was down to 6. The bench units would play even, and the frame would end with the score 32-26.

The bench unit did not find the same success to start the 2nd quarter, allowing the lead to grow to 10 within 3 minutes. After P.J. Tucker’s 2nd foul on a jump shooter, he went to the bench, and Fred Van Vleet, oddly enough, came into the game. Then it really fell apart. The offence completely died for the next 6+ minutes, with the Raptors scoring only 7 points in that time. Valanciunas was in theory in with that group to help with the offence, but got only 2 shots in that time (one off of an offensive rebound). Meanwhile, VanVleet and Norman Powell combined to shoot 1 for 8 with 2 turnovers and no assists in those 6 minutes. By the end of the quarter, the Raptors were down 18 and the game was essentially over.

Given that, there’s not much to describe in the 3rd and 4th quarters. The 3rd quarter, both teams’ offences ground to a halt to start, and the 18 point lead edged up to 20+, hitting 25 near the end of the quarter. The game was out of reach at this point, and both teams rode the end of their bench the rest of the way, or intended to anyway. The Raptors’ young group made a nice push in the 4th against Miami’s bench to pull within 11, forcing the Heat to play some of their starters and regulars again. Sadly, the Heat would pull away late.

The good news is the game is over now. The bad news is, the team’s shooting woes continue, as almost everyone had a hard time getting the ball through the rim. DeMar DeRozan (5/16), Serge Ibaka (3/11), Cory Joseph (3/8), Norman Powell (5/14) and Fred Van Vleet (1/10) all had terrible shooting nights (including being a combined 1/13 from long range), and that’s just too much to overcome. Hopefully the team can find some cohesive offence to survive with Kyle Lowry out, as the last two games have been discouraging in that regard.