Second halves have been the problem of late, but that trend was reversed on Friday. Miami did an excellent job of finding open shooters when Toronto's defence tried to help on LeBron James and the result was a 26-point lead at halftime.
But the Raptors clawed back in the third and used a 16-7 run capped by an Andrea Bargnani triple to pull within 99-92 with 6:27 to play. Mario Chalmers immediately snuffed out that rally with a three-pointer the other way to spark a 13-4 Miami run and it was game over.
James turned in an incredible performance with both Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh out, but you've got to hand it to Mike Miller for stepping up with easily his best performance of the season (32 points, 6-11 3PT FGM-A, 10 rebounds, three assists).
He'd been quiet since his return from a preseason thumb injury on Dec. 20 and shot just 0-7 in his first three appearances at home since then. But he made franchise history by halftime on Saturday with 22 points in the second quarter on 8-of-12 shooting with five threes.
A slow start for DeMar DeRozan with just seven points in the first half, but he put together an eye-opening second half in a toe-to-toe offensive battle with James. DeRozan exploded for 23 second-half points, driving to the rim relentlessly and balancing that out with his jumper. He'd finish with 30 points, the second-highest scoring output of his young career.
"I just wanted to be aggressive," DeRozan said post-game. "It seemed like we were playing in slow motion in the first half and I just wanted to attack and get to the basket."
"I think we found a group that was rolling a little bit there and we tried to ride them as long as we could. Ed Davis was getting rebounds and I thought Andrea got it going a bit. DeMar was aggressive going to the basket the way we want him to be and Jose started making some shots too. We haven't had that luxury of this many guys scoring for us in the last couple of games."
- Jay Triano, on the Raptors' play in the second half
Sat., Jan. 22 @ Miami
7:00 PM ET, TSN2, FAN590
The Raptors try and stop their season-long slide when they return to ACC on Monday and begin a three-game homestand against Memphis Grizzlies. In the first meeting of the season back on Dec. 27 in Memphis, the Raptors couldn't catch the Grizzlies down the stretch and fell 96-85.
|7||Consecutive losses for the Raptors|
|9.3||Rebounds per game for Ed Davis over his last six contests|
|42-33||Rebouding edge for the Heat|
|52-38||Points in the paint favouring the Raptors|
|7||Career games of 20+ points vs. the Heat for Andrea Bargnani|
|"To contain LeBron it was tough coming help side they're swinging out and getting back to three-point shots, which they made."|
- Amir Johnson on the early Heat surge
|"There was a great deal of trust and our ball movement was good, we were finding our shooters. It was a good win, other than the third quarter where we had a lapse in focus and in effort."|
- Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra on his team getting back on track
|"It was tough. So many guys playing out of position. I was playing three tonight and I've never played three in my life."|
- Jerryd Bayless, on dealing with injuries