Game Rap: Raptors 101, Heat 84
Holly MacKenzie - Raptors.com
IT WAS OVER WHEN
DeMar DeRozan scored his 39th and 40th points of the game on a floating jumper that put the Raptors ahead by 15 with 1:49 remaining. After trailing by as many as 15 in the first quarter, the Raptors completed the comeback to win by 17 as they picked up a 101-84 victory against the Miami Heat thanks to DeRozan’s second consecutive 40-point game.
Miami wasted little time getting things going on Thursday, shooting 54 percent in the first quarter. Thanks to a nine-point quarter from Goran Dragic and eight points from Rodney McGruder, the Heat led 33-23 after the opening 12 minutes against the Raptors. Toronto shot 48 percent in the quarter, and were led by DeMar DeRozan’s 14 points on 6-for-7 field goals as the rest of the team struggled to score.
STEPPING UP THE DEFENCE
Things shifted for both teams in the second quarter when the defensive intensity took centre stage. While Toronto shot just 38 percent in the second quarter, they managed to hold the Heat to 20 percent shooting after their hot start. Miami made us 3-of-15 field goals in the quarter, and they managed just 14 points after that 33-point first quarter. Toronto outscored the Heat 22-14 in the second, thanks to another big quarter from DeMar DeRozan, who nearly matched the Heat’s scoring total with 10 points in seven minutes. Thanks to the Heat’s offensive struggles in the second quarter, the Raptors went into the half trailing by just two points.
MOVING IN FRONT
Toronto’s defence remained in lock-down mode in the third quarter as the Raptors held the Heat to 21 points in the third on 37 percent shooting. After Miami dropped a 33-point opening quarter, Toronto held the Heat to 35 points in the second and third quarters combined. The Raptors eliminated a 15-point first half deficit and moved in front thanks to yet another huge effort from DeMar DeRozan who scored 10 points on 4-of-6 field goals while playing the entire quarter. The Heat were led by Hassan Whiteside’s ninepins and five rebounds, but were unable to keep up with the Raptors and fell behind 75-68 after three quarters.
CLOSING OUT THE W
The fourth quarter was an offensive struggle for both teams, with neither shooting better than 39 percent. Still, the Raptors won their third straight quarter, outscoring the Heat 26-16 en route to the 101-84 victory. After giving up 33 points in the first quarter, Toronto held Miami to just 51 points over the final three quarters as they completed their 19th comeback from 10 or more points this season. The final quarter featured Norman Powell, Delon Wright and Jakob Poeltl playing big minutes and having big impacts on both ends of the floor. Poeltl contributed six rebounds in the quarter, including three offensive boards that helped run out the clock down the stretch while Powell added seven points and Wright added six as the Raptors picked up their fourth consecutive win.
RAPTORS PLAYER OF THE GAME
DeMar DeRozan scored 40 points for the second consecutive game. It was the first time in his career that he has topped 40 points in back-to-back games and he was brilliant throughout on Thursday night. After scoring 14 points in the opening quarter, DeRozan continued to score at will, making his 40 points look effortless, shooting 14-of-25 from the floor in 36 minutes. He didn’t make a 3-pointer, but shot 12-of-13 from the free throw line while adding six rebounds, three assists and a steal with just one turnover.
UNDERRATED RAPTORS PLAYER(S) OF THE GAME
Delon Wright and Norman Powell combined to contribute 27 points off the bench on 9-for-17 field goals. They combined for 10 rebounds, three assists, three steals and a block as well. With Kyle Lowry and Serge Ibaka out of the lineup, the Raptors needed contributions from top to bottom and the two sophomores came off the bench to provide a solid boost down the stretch.
THAT'S A RAP…
“We’ve still got a long way to go. We can’t get content or happy at all. It was a tough game we played without Serge tonight, because of the suspension, and it’s something we’ve got to be consistent with. We’ve got to start out games better. We’ve got to be able to jump on teams and sustain the lead for the whole game with our defence. Let our offence carry us secondly. It’s something we’ve got to make a consistent thing every single game.”
- DeMar DeRozan on continuing to seek consistency
BY THE #’S
51…Rebounds for the Raptors, 36 for the Heat.
44…Percent shooting for Toronto compared with 39 percent shooting for Miami.
25…Made free throws for the Raptors on 32 attempts (78 percent). In comparison, the Heat had just 14 made free throws on 23 attempts (61 percent). DeMar DeRozan led the Raptors with 12 free throws on 13 attempts.
30…The Raptors were a +30 in rookie Jakob Poeltl’s 24 minutes.
THEY SAID IT…
“Very efficient. 25 attempts. He did an excellent job of handling the pick-and-roll. They wee blitzing him, he’s doing a good job of finding people, passing out of the double team and that’s the efficient game that he had. He’s playing an old man’s game. People talking about his usage and minutes, all that. He’s playing an old man’s game.”
- Dwane Casey on DeMar DeRozan’s 40-point effort
“As the game starts to go on I feel more comfortable out there. Just each minute I was out there I felt more comfortable and I was able to make some plays.”
- Delon Wright on feeling his way as the game went on
“I was just trying to be aggressive and then try to pick it up on the defensive end as well, not just go out there and score.”
- DeMar DeRozan on another solid effort
“It’s a long season. We’ve got to be trending upward going into the playoffs and this is what it’s about. Don’t get too high on wins and you don't get too disappointed on losses. We’ve got to be trending in a certain way and I like the way we’re trending defensively.”
- Dwane Casey on finishing strong
“It’s about bringing some valuable energy and giving the older guys some rest. That’s truly what it’s about. We know we’re a young group and we really don't have that much experience, but we have to make up for it with our enthusiasm, our energy, our hard play, and that’s what we did.”
- Jakob Poeltl on being on the floor with his fellow reserves
The Raptors will take on the Dallas Mavericks on Saturday at 8:30 P.M. ET.