Game 1: HEAT 102 - Raptors 96 Recap
Photo Credit: Dave Sandford
The Miami HEAT defeated the Toronto Raptors 102-96 in overtime Tuesday night at Air Canada Centre in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals. Goran Dragic led the way for the HEAT with 26 points. Miami now leads the series 1-0.
1. Wade Calm in the Clutch
To no one’s surprise, Dwyane Wade came through in crunch time to help the HEAT steal home-court advantage in Game 1. In fact, the 34-year-old totaled 11 points, two blocks and two steals in the fourth quarter and overtime period combined. He simply made clutch play after clutch play on Tuesday night, including blocks on both DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry and a steal on DeRozan that led to the game sealing and-one.
On the flip side of the ball, Wade got to the rim a few times, but he primarily converted from the perimeter against Toronto. The shooting guard was able to get free often thanks to some hard screens from Hassan Whiteside.
In all, Wade tallied 24 points, six rebounds, four assists and three steals to go along with his two blocks.
2. Dragic Comes Up Big Again
Remember Dragic’s great Game 7 on Sunday against the Hornets? Well, the Slovenian had perhaps an even better performance against the Raptors.
After a tight first half, Dragic came out of the gate absolutely on fire in the third quarter. In the period, the point guard scored 10 of his 26 points off some tough shots from the perimeter. How tough? Let’s just say he had a chance at a four-point play after he splashed down a three despite absorbing contact from Cory Joseph.
Earlier in the contest, Dragic tried to get things going in transition with the HEAT missing some shots they usually make in the half-court. In particular, he had an impressive sequence late in the first half when he came up with a loose ball and started the break after Joe Johnson poked it away from Lowry. From there, Dragic raced down court, approached DeMarre Carroll and finished the nifty layup.
In addition to his 26 points on 10-of-20 shooting, Dragic also had six rebounds and two assists.
3. Pace Early On Gets Miami Started
Throughout the first three quarters, Miami did a good job defensively against Toronto. As a result, the HEAT got out in transition quite often for some easy buckets. That is not easy to do on the road, especially in the postseason. Dragic led the charge in that category, but the team as a whole pushed the ball in the early going. In all, Miami totaled 13 fast break points in Game 1.
-While he didn’t shoot that high a percentage, Joe Johnson hit some buckets when the team needed them the most. Case in point: the vet scored nine of his 16 points on 4-of-9 shooting in the fourth quarter and overtime period combined. In addition to those 16 points, Johnson also tallied seven boards and two assists on the night.
-Even though Whiteside strained his right knee in the first quarter, he came back in the game and fought hard against the Raptors. Early on, he did his usual damage on the offensive glass and also altered shots at the rim throughout the contest. He finished with nine points and 17 rebounds.
Game Note: Briante Weber and Chris Bosh were inactive.