Quick Reaction: Heat 81, Raptors 101

Like a proud dad, a sidelined Kyle Lowry got to watch his boys feast tonight.

MIA Heat81Final
Box Score
101TOR Raptors

A. Baynes23 MIN, 3 PTS, 6 REB, 1 AST, 2 STL, 1-5 FG, 1-3 3FG, 0-0 FT, 2 BLK, 2 TO, 5 +/-

Many folks, including myself, gave Baynes a tough time for his lackluster performance to start the season. Well, he made a pretty compelling case to win back our affection tonight. Baynes contributed in multiple areas on Friday: savvy screen assists, drained a nice looking triple and was tough as nails defensively in the paint. But most importantly, he played with an infectious energy for every second he was on the court, which clearly lit a fire under his teammate’s behinds. Might just have to crack a VB in his honour tonight.

P. Siakam33 MIN, 15 PTS, 14 REB, 5 AST, 1 STL, 6-12 FG, 1-3 3FG, 2-4 FT, 0 BLK, 4 TO, 18 +/-

Pascal had another up and down game tonight, never truly finding his stride on offense. His biggest contribution came in the form of incredibly active rebounding and tenacity on defence. While we expect more from Spicy P on a nightly basis, the franchise big did what he had to in order to help secure the win. Who can complain about that?

F. VanVleet37 MIN, 13 PTS, 5 REB, 7 AST, 2 STL, 4-14 FG, 1-6 3FG, 4-5 FT, 0 BLK, 2 TO, 21 +/-

Forced to shoulder a mammoth offensive load with his backcourt partner in crime sidelined, FVV shined in the spotlight tonight. Freddy was poised and aggressive running the point all night long, creating countless opportunities for himself and others. He more than filled the void of team leader as Kyle watched from the sidelines.

O. Anunoby34 MIN, 21 PTS, 4 REB, 1 AST, 2 STL, 8-12 FG, 5-6 3FG, 0-0 FT, 0 BLK, 2 TO, 22 +/-

OG was sublime tonight. The deceptively long wing hit several key 3 balls, rebounded well all night long, and capitalized on some scoring and playmaking opportunities repeatedly. His massive handprints were all over this game, as he was the release valve for all the pressure repeatedly put on his team this evening. Yeah that’s cool.

N. Powell31 MIN, 23 PTS, 3 REB, 0 AST, 2 STL, 10-18 FG, 3-10 3FG, 0-0 FT, 0 BLK, 1 TO, 19 +/-

Norm came out of the gates on absolute fire. Shooting 6/6 in the opening frame, and powering his team to a gigantic lead early, the player who’s been ripped for his lackluster bench play was nothing short of brilliant on Friday night. Powell was explosive, pushed the ball in transition and looked like a completely different guy than the one we’ve been watching over the past few weeks. Give this guy the game ball because left it all out there tonight.

C. Boucher19 MIN, 5 PTS, 5 REB, 0 AST, 0 STL, 2-5 FG, 1-1 3FG, 0-0 FT, 1 BLK, 2 TO, 9 +/-

In what was likely a response to witnessing him get bodied by Precious and Bam down low last game, Boucher’s minutes were drastically down in this one. It’s a real pity that Boucher’s frame makes him a liability in certain matchups, because Toronto could’ve used his scoring punch and rim protection in this one. He was fine in the minutes that he did play, but didn’t get enough of them to impose his usual will on the contest.

T. Davis16 MIN, 12 PTS, 1 REB, 1 AST, 0 STL, 5-10 FG, 2-5 3FG, 0-0 FT, 0 BLK, 5 TO, 0 +/-

Davis looked really comfortable out there tonight. His movements were super fluid, he shot the ball with confidence and without hesitation, and he played damn good perimeter D to boot. Despite the early season benching, TD has remained ready, and apparently hungry as he’s feasted on the minutes provided to him over the past couple contests.

M. Flynn14 MIN, 3 PTS, 1 REB, 3 AST, 0 STL, 1-5 FG, 1-4 3FG, 0-0 FT, 0 BLK, 1 TO, 0 +/-

Flynn was one of the beneficiaries of Lowry’s absence on Friday, as the rook got a lot more run than he usually would. Unfortunately, he wasn’t able to take advantage of it

S. Johnson13 MIN, 3 PTS, 2 REB, 3 AST, 1 STL, 1-1 FG, 1-1 3FG, 0-0 FT, 0 BLK, 0 TO, 7 +/-

It’s curious to me why Stanimal rode the pine as much as he did tonight. Given that defence was a point of emphasis going into this one, and that’s Johnson’s calling card, I would’ve expected to see him out there for more minutes. Clearly Nurse had other plans, as he saw the court for a bakers dozen.

Y. Watanabe5 MIN, 0 PTS, 2 REB, 0 AST, 0 STL, 0-0 FG, 0-0 3FG, 0-0 FT, 0 BLK, 0 TO, -3 +/-

For the first time in a while, I didn’t really notice Yuta much on the court tonight. He’s got great court sense, fills open space well, is quick on his feet and does all of the little things well, but he didn’t do anything well enough to warrant meaningful minutes in this one.

Nick Nurse

Nurse came out with a clear message in this contest that if his team was to expect a different result, it would start on the defensive end. Nurse and his staff did a great job of getting into opposing shooter’s grills and pushing the ball in transition. There were clear adjustments made in response to last game’s result, and his team answered the call.

Things We Saw

  1. The Raptors played their best defence of the season in the first half tonight, and it wasn’t close. Their communication, rotations and decision making on that side of the ball was that of a championship level team. The Raptors need to improve in a laundry list of departments in order to even start thinking about the post-season, but if they want to get there, channelling that first half defensive energy would be a great place to start.
  2. Toronto are no strangers to double digit leads this season, it’s keeping that lead until the 48 minute mark that’s been the problem. It wasn’t an issue tonight, as the Raps were able to withstand Miami’s third quarter push and turn on the Jets in the fourth to pull away for a decisive victory.
  3. Great to see that this team has the fight to look as good as they have all season without the help of their most important player – Kyle Lowry. The Dinos need to carry this momentum onto the court with them once Kyle is cleared to play, if they hope to start steering the ship in the right direction.

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