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Raptors able to close out in South Beach; win 98-90 over Heat in a nail biting finish

There were no scraps in this one, but the Raptors sure did fight to the finish — and head back to Toronto at 2-2 on the season.

Toronto Raptors v Miami Heat Photo by Megan Briggs/Getty Images

After a disappointing loss to the Miami Heat Saturday night — filled with drama and overall a rollercoaster — the Toronto Raptors faced South Beach’s finest AGAIN tonight. This time, though, the outcome was different — after a hard-fought, back-and-forth affair, the Raptors escaped with a 98-90 victory.

Saturday’s game saw the Raptors down by 20+ at the half, but they fought their way back, and lost by just two possessions in the end. The BIG news of the night ended up being the scrap between Caleb Martin and Christian Koloko, which caused both players to be ejected.

Martin was suspended for tonight’s game, while Koloko was served a fine of $15,000 by the NBA.

In tonight’s game, with Scottie Barnes out with an ankle injury sustained during the Miami game Saturday, Koloko was given is first NBA start. Pretty wild week for the rookie.

The Raptors showed dominance in the first quarter, at one point went on a 10-0 run. Miami continued to come back, with sharp shooting from Tyler Herro, Duncan Robinson, and Jimmy Butler. Yet, it was that big run that helped the Raptors come out of the quarter on top.

Chris Boucher made his season debut as well, providing much needed energy off the bench. He contributed on both sides, sinking two three pointers, but was served four fouls early on and had to sit.

After the first, Toronto was up 27-23. That energy carried into the second quarter, and the Raptors found themselves up by 11. They held that lead throughout the final minutes of the half, but some messy possessions and missed shots caused the Heat to crawl back.

The half ended with the Raptors able to hold their lead. It was 48-43 for Toronto after two quarters.

As the second half started, the Raptors unfortunately fell into a third quarter slump. Miami quickly recovered from a disappointing first half and gained the lead from a 9-0 run, up 57-56. The game became one-sided in this stretch, with the Raptors breaking down defensively, and nothing really happening for them on the offensive side. The Heat capitalized on this immensely.

A scoring drought from the Raptors didn’t help, but they also recovered quickly defensively. This allowed them to stop the bleeding and not allow Miami to get to far ahead. with 2:47 left in the third, it was 65-63 for Miami.

Malachi Flynn also entered (donning his face mask) and gave the Raptors much needed energy off the bench. Gary Trent Jr scored a vital three as the clock wound down — yet, it wasn’t enough and the Heat ended the third quarter up by five, 76-71.

To start the fourth quarter, Toronto continued to struggle offensively. The Heat gained their largest lead of the game, up 78-71 with ten minutes to go.

But Toronto was not going down without a fight — a couple of three pointers from Trent Jr., some free throws from Siakam, and a SLAM from Precious Achiuwa got the Raptors back within one point just minutes later. EIGHT minutes to go.

O.G. Anunoby came out after a timeout with a powerful drive to the net that caused a blocking foul on Miami — which they challenged. The challenge was successful, and O.G.’s basket did not count. The stress started to build at this point.

Fred VanVleet then made up for the missed three points from Anunoby, tying up the game with a loooooong three. The Raptors recaptured the lead with a splash from O.G. with FIVE minutes to go in the game. Still a lot of time on the clock. Obviously it was going to be a nail biter, we expected this.

The Raptors then went on a 16-4 run, clamping down defensively and sinking some important baskets, but the lead still wasn’t safe. Tyler Herro brought it back to a three point game, but Pascal Siakam hit a smooooooooth fadeaway to maintain the two possession lead heading into a timeout. 50 seconds remain.

With a CLUTCH three from Trent Jr., the 6 point lead was maintained from the Raptors with 22.6 seconds left. That’s GAME. Miami is unable to recover at this point.

The Raptors win 98-90 against Miami, splitting their short series against the Heat 1-1 and getting to 2-2 on the season (while the Heat fall to 1-3).

BIG night for some Raptors. Despite being the target of the Miami defence, Pascal Siakam ended the night with 23 points, six assists, and nine rebounds. With just one more point at 24, Fred VanVleet was the highest scoring Raptor of the night. He added nine assists and four rebounds to his stat line.

Yet, it was the Precious Achiuwa show in Miami tonight. A show for the franchise that drafted him 20th overall in 2020 and then traded him to Toronto in 2021 for Kyle Lowry. Precious recorded ten points and 22 rebounds — the most from a player off of the bench in Raptors history. It was also a career high for him, smashing his previous record of 15.

The cherry on top of the whole night? Precious Achiuwa telling Savannah Hamilton post-game that he is “down to beat this team any day.” Same, Precious. Same.

The Raptors get the much-needed, very earned win on the road. They’ll head back North for back to back home games against the struggling Philadelphia 76ers. Catch the first match up Wednesday night at 7:30 p.m. Eastern on TSN.