Miami Heat’s empty 3rd and boardless 4th cost them to Raps, 112-104

O.G. Anunoby #3 of the Toronto Raptors drives to the net against Jimmy Butler #22 of the Miami Heat(Photo by Cole Burston/Getty Images)
O.G. Anunoby #3 of the Toronto Raptors drives to the net against Jimmy Butler #22 of the Miami Heat(Photo by Cole Burston/Getty Images) /

The Miami Heat should have come into Wednesday night’s game already knowing what it would be like. Always a bloodbath of a game when these two teams meet, this is the same team that they already split a pair of home games with back in October.

Speaking of those games though, there was a trend in that pair of matchups that was pretty much indicative of the game. Whoever won the rebounding battle, won that game.

And that same trend continued on Wednesday. But it wouldn’t play itself out until the end, with the Miami Heat nearly being doubled up on the glass at 23-42.

The Miami Heat would control the game for most of it early on, the entire first half to be honest. It wasn’t until the third period, a historically notorious quarter for the Miami Heat, that the wheels totally fell off the bus.

Allowing the Raptors to score nearly 21 unanswered points, the Heat would go from being up 11 points to being down 10 in what seemed like the blink of an eye. For the purposes of emphasis, the Miami Heat would lose the third period by a tally of 30-19.

The Miami Heat faced a classic foe Wednesday in the Raptors. And if Pat Riley were there after the game, he’d probably be saying ‘no rebounds—no rings’.

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Though Dewayne Dedmon and Gabe Vincent would do enough as a tandem to pull them back within a few points down the stretch, that’s when things really went haywire again. The Miami Heat, already down their starting center in Bam Adebayo on the night, would lose their backup big in Dedmon for the evening.

After an O.G. Anunoby drive that should have been called a foul on him for launching with his knee, as it is in most other situations, was given a foul call on a play where he launched said knee directly into the private regions of the Miami Heat’s backup center, the Miami Heat were done.

It was in that last eight-minute stretch that the Miami Heat were never able to fully overcome their deficit, getting it down to as close as a few points at times. A huge part of that was being unable to finish the defensive sequence by securing a defensive board.

That allowed Toronto to, not only, keep Miami from closing the gap, but add to their own lead. And you have to believe Dedmon’s absence, though not certainly a game changer there, impacted that and especially based on what he was able to do the rest of the evening

Here’s the thing though and while you never want to see your team lose, this isn’t the worst kind. This isn’t the same as those first seven of the season.

They played the right way but just couldn’t execute when they needed to the most. That is an issue, but happens and can be addressed.

Heck, it will be and you trust Spo there. You also trust that Jimmy Butler doesn’t have too many more games as he had on Wednesday either.

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But other than that, it was just another tough, scrappy, right up until the end contest with the Raptors. It’s just what happens when these two teams face each other and this one didn’t go Miami’s way.