Quick Reaction: Heat 102, Raptors 96 – Heat lead series 1-0

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Miami 102 Final
Recap | Box Score
96 Toronto
D. Carroll 37 MIN | 4-7 FG | 2-4 3FG | 0-0 FT | 4 REB | 0 AST | 2 STL | 1 BLK | 2 TO | 10 PTS | -2 +/-

Struggled stopping Joe Johnson early on but grew defensively as the game progressed. His shooting stroke looked good.

J. Valanciunas 41 MIN | 10-16 FG | 0-0 3FG | 4-4 FT | 14 REB | 3 AST | 2 STL | 3 BLK | 1 TO | 24 PTS | +11 +/-

The best Raptor on the court.

He did a really nice job attacking Whiteside early and really made his presence felt on the glass – making this match-up at the five a really exciting part of this series moving forward.

His consistent scoring and confidence scoring in the post was needed to make up for Lowry’s offensive shortcomings.

K. Lowry 43 MIN | 3-13 FG | 1-7 3FG | 0-0 FT | 4 REB | 6 AST | 3 STL | 0 BLK | 3 TO | 7 PTS | +8 +/-

You’d have to go way, way back to come across a Kyle Lowry performance as bad as this. His scoreless first half was just his 2nd of the season. Against Indiana, despite struggling offensively, he contributed in so many other ways. Tonight, his body language was just off.

If normal Kyle Lowry shows up, the Raptors probably win this game. But, to reiterate, he was an offensive zero, and that’s a huge blow for the team.

I bumped up his grade for his clutch plays – a nice drive late in the fourth, an interception, and then the obvious buzzer-beating heave from Halifax to force OT.

D. DeRozan 42 MIN | 9-22 FG | 0-0 3FG | 4-6 FT | 6 REB | 4 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 22 PTS | -3 +/-

He started off on fire, but then fell off – in a bad way. Not only did he cool down significantly, but he also just took terrible shots. Long contested two after long contested two – he was all too predictable and it completely stagnated the Raptors’ offense.

Shades of Lou iso’s have resurfaced with his ugly end-of-quarter jumpers at the buzzer.

Like Lowry, I’ve bumped up DeMar’s grade for some clutch and-1’s in the fourth.

N. Powell 22 MIN | 1-5 FG | 0-1 3FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 2 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 2 PTS | -6 +/-

Really nice game from Norm. He did a glorious job on D-Wade.

Quiet offensively, but overall impressive. Does not look like a rookie. His development continues to be way ahead of schedule.

P. Patterson 18 MIN | 1-4 FG | 0-2 3FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 2 PTS | -8 +/-

Could have used way more from him offensively. Did a decent job on Deng / JJ.

T. Ross 27 MIN | 7-13 FG | 2-7 3FG | 3-5 FT | 2 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 2 BLK | 2 TO | 19 PTS | -2 +/-

He did some weird things – opting to keep the ball in play, throwing it straight to the Heat for a transition break; taking contested threes in transition early in the clock, dribbling into Wade in OT for a terrible turnover – but other than that, rose to the occasion.

Active defence coupled with offensive energy where he took it to the rim, hit jumpers, and moved the ball well.

When Lowry, Valanciunas and DeRozan all sat to start the 2nd, Ross was huge in tiding the Raptors over on the offensive end.

B. Biyombo 12 MIN | 0-0 FG | 0-0 3FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 0 PTS | -11 +/-

Quiet game, shorter leash than normal given how well Jonas matched up against Whiteside.

C. Joseph 23 MIN | 5-9 FG | 0-0 3FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 10 PTS | -2 +/-

Not the possessed-demonic performance he had in game 7 against Indiana, but I thought he did well defensively overall and was a key part of that push late in the fourth.

Dwane Casey

I thought the decision to start both Carroll and Powell was a good call, and it showed. The offense to start was all over the place, but the Raptors did a really nice job defensively with that line-up.

Great call to get the ball to Jonas early and often.

A couple things that Casey could have looked at more:

1) Powell could have been given more burn to help stop the bleeding from Wade and Dragic.

2) He needs to intervene somewhere on the stagnant iso-heavy possessions where Miami’s defense essentially sits back to rebound a DeRozan missed jumper with three Raptor players camped outside the arc as spectators.

Four Things We Saw

  1. After Lowry hit the epic shot to force OT, I was convinced I had to re-write this entire article, but it turns out Miami just went to work in the extra frame – forcing turnovers and hitting tough shots.

    Not a whole lot changed in terms of evaluating this game. Miami was the better team, and the Raptors didn’t get adequate contributions from their all-stars – namely Kyle Lowry.

  2. Goran Dragic looked as close to his ‘vintage’ Phoenix days as he possibly could tonight – carving the Raptors in every way. Crazy enough, both Lowry and Joseph played pretty solid defense on Dragic, but it wasn’t enough to contain him.

  3. 3PT stats:

    Heat 8/11
    Raptors 5/21

    Miami’s threes came within the flow of the offense, while Toronto’s were contested without any ball movement early in the clock. Apart from some pretty ball movement in the first half which led to a couple threes from Carroll, the Raptors’ woes from behind the arc was due to their shot selection – not from missing open looks.

    The drive and kick was there, the Raps didn’t use it enough.

  4. Can’t hit on this enough – if the Raptors get a better performance from Kyle Lowry they win this game. Their defense to start this game was phenomenal and DeRozan / Valanciunas were unstoppable. Despite this, they went into the second quarter level on the scoreboard, then get outscored 27-20 in the third. Lowry was an offensive zero, and if he’s anything better, this game is dramatically different.

    I’m not throwing Lowry under the bus here – it is what it is. Whether it’s his fault or not is irrelevant. The Raptors don’t lose this game because they’re not up for the occasion, they’re losing this game because they don’t have their superstar at 100%.

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