For awhile there, it appeared the Toronto Raptors were about to finish with a three-point percentage that was superior to the Miami Heat’s free throw percentage.
For awhile longer, it appeared the Raptors were going to blowout the Heat after building up a lead that was as large as 15 points with 2:24 remaining in the first half.
Yet despite the Raptors shooting 50 percent from the field, hitting 14 of their 31 three-point attempts and only turning the ball over eight times, the Heat were somehow able to steal a victory from an upset-minded Toronto team. Coming off a five-day layoff since a win against the Lakers Wednesday, the Heat were sluggish throughout the first half, trailing by as many as 15 and staring at a 57-50 deficit going into the half.
Thanks to some stingy defense and impressive performances from the Heat’s five top players, however, the Heat were able to take a 123-116 overtime victory in their first home game since January 6th.
Wade dropped a season-high 35 points on 13-of-19 shooting to accompany seven assists and five rebounds in 40 minutes worth of action. He was supported by LeBron James second triple-double; 31 points on 12-of-23 shooting, 11 assists and 10 rebounds in 44 minutes.While he missed a jumper at the buzzer that would have won the game, James hit the Heat’s final field-goal on a three-pointer that turned a three-point deficit into a tie.
DeMar DeRozan and Chris Bosh then matched a pair of 1-for-2 performances from the foul line to send the game into overtime at 109 apiece.
Raptors’ swingman Alan Anderson outscored the Heat 5-2 in the first minute of overtime, but those first five points would be the last points Toronto would score until a layup by Kyle Lowry with 30 seconds left. Unfortunately for the Raptors, the game had already been decided on the other end after a Ray Allen three-pointer and a Dwyane Wade free throw within 21 seconds of each other put the Heat up seven.
Allen played a heavy role in this one, contributing 18 points, including 4-of-7 shooting from deep, and two rebounds. However, he and the rest of the team had a great deal of trouble corralling the Raptors backcourt that sometimes featured two point guards. The collective shooting, penetration, and distribution of Jose Calderon, Kyle Lowry and John Lucas III supported the Raptors offense throughout the night, which included 5-of-6 shooting from deep from Calderon.
Lowry shot 2-of-4 from deep and finished with 13 points, while Lucas needed only 11 minutes to record three assists.
The Raptors offense was clicking, but so was Miami’s and the Heat are going to win that battle since they have the talent. In particular, Wade was efficient at getting to the rim thanks in part to his mid-range game falling. Wade forced three different Raptors into his patented pump-fake-and-lean, including a three-pointer due to the inexperience of Amir Johnson and his speed on the perimeter.
The 35 points from Wade bests his previous high of 34 he set earlier in a win against Brooklyn. After scoring 27 points against the Lakers, this represents the first time Wade has recorded back-to-back games of at least 20 points since January 4th. This is also the first time this season Wade and James have both scored at least 30 points in the same game.
Chris Bosh and Udonis Haslem proved to be extremely useful in their minutes. While they’ll go unnoticed because of the draw of Wade and James, Bosh and Haslem saved the Heat a lot of trouble by keeping the Raptors’ bigs off the boards. Bosh had 12 rebounds, his first double-digit rebounding game since December 29th, and Haslem finished with ten to give the Heat an impressive 53-28 edge on the boards and 16-7 on the offensive glass.
Nobody on the Raptors had more than six rebounds. Amir Johnson and Ed Davis were in foul trouble throughout the night, with Johnson fouling out after 32 minutes.
Mario Chalmers–14 points and 3-of-6 shooting from deep–also fouled out.
The Heat used an 11-3 run to end the first half. They then used a 38-point third quarter to take a four-point lead heading into the third quarter. The Raptors three-point shooting and the Heat’s poor free-throw shooting, a mere 24-of-38, kept it close despite the Heat’s numerous opportunities to pull away. It’s the tenth time this season the Heat have allowed their opponent to hit at least ten three-pointers.
It helped Toronto get to overtime, but their dependency on it was no match for the execution of Miami’s offense.
The Heat only get a day off before a contest with the Detroit Pistons.