The Heat defeated the Raptors 93-83 tonight to improve their record to 51-22 on the season. But more importantly, the win pushed the Heat into first place in the Eastern Conference for the first time all season.
For the Heat, LeBron James finished with a game-high 32 points, to go along with a team-high seven rebounds and eight assists. Chris Bosh scored 18 points. Chris Andersen contributed 13 points and seven rebounds off the bench.
For the Raptors, Grievis Vasquez finished with a team-high 17 points off the bench. DeMar DeRozan scored 16 points and dished seven assists. Jonas Valanciunas added 14 points and 10 rebounds.
This was a tight one through the majority of the game, with the Heat holding a one-point lead at the end of the first quarter (24-23), and a three point lead at halftime (54-51). The Heat were able to break the game open somewhat during the third quarter, going up by as much as 71-59. They were able to win the third quarter by six points (20-14), to give themselves a nine-point lead heading into the fourth quarter. Even though the Raptors were able to get the Heat lead down to just three at 81-78 with a little over six minutes to play, Miami then went on a 12-5 run to close the game out.
Although the Heat welcomed Mario Chalmers back after missing two games, they were still without Dwyane Wade, Ray Allen, and Greg Oden for a third consecutive game. However, it’s great to see guys like Rashard Lewis and James Jones contribute when others are out, showing the true professionals that they are.
The Heat’s next game is Wednesday, when the Milwaukee Bucks (14-60) make their way to AmericanAirlines Arena. The tip-off is scheduled for 7:30 pm.