Second half Raptors strike again, victorious in Heat-Raps III

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Courtesy: Getty Images, Steve Russell

More RR Content from this game:

Quick Reaction: Player Grades

Rap Up with Adon and Kyle

For a while it looked like this game was headed to overtime too.

Thankfully for both teams involved playing in back to backs, it ended in regulation with Toronto defeating Miami for the second time in four nights. A similar script to the Hawks game was followed for the most part. The Raptors came out a little sluggish and a step slow, especially on the defensive end. For the seventh game in a row, the Raps won the third quarter (30-21) which got them back into the game. Then key plays from numerous guys on both ends closed it out. Toronto improves to 6-3 on the second night of back to backs this season, a huge step from an abysmal 3-13 campaign in Tampa.

I usually like doing recaps in linear fashion, but there were big moments from a variety of players so I’ll be jumping back and forth a bit. Sorry in advance.

1. Jr showing out with Sr watching

I’ve had a section labelled “Headband Gary” the previous two games, doing it three times in a row is a little much. Although the Raptors lacked energy early on, Trent kept the game competitive with 17 first half points, displaying a variety of ways to get his shot off that we have become accustomed to.

Gary continued to score in the third, and combined with improved attention to detail on the defensive end the game got closer. You just have to tip your cap if you’re Miami because these are contested shots.

Skip to mid fourth, where it’s a one possession game like every Heat-Raptors bloodbath is. We have a hilarious turning of the tables here, where P.J. Tucker flops and Trent takes full advantage. Remember it was Tucker that was guarding OG Anunoby when he went down awkwardly on Saturday and was called for a travel. Some thought it was a flop, but that to me was just OG off balance. Anyway enjoy.

Okay how about no flop this time 35 seconds later? Whoops same result. Although Tucker has never made an all-defensive team, he’s still a premier defender that Gary was torching.

That last three was Trent’s sixth of the night. He’s made 31 in his last five games, something we saw Fred VanVleet do at the beginning of January. It also put Gary over the 30 point mark for the fifth straight game, tying DeMar DeRozan for a franchise record. Ironically, that’s the Raptors next opponent.

After those two threes over Tucker, Gary tried one of those ill advised heat checks that almost never work, except he got fouled by Bam Adebayo. By that point, you could hear the small crowd of fans chanting his name. Gary said after the game that he heard them and appreciated the love. Also in the stands was the OG Raptor himself, his dad.

For what it’s worth, Trent would be interested in the three point shootout if asked. He’s tied for 16th in makes (127), at nearly a 40 percent clip.

“It would be something cool to be a part of. Last year I felt like I had a lot of threes. But they don’t put your name in there unless you do it after years and years and years of knocking at that door,” Trent said postgame.

2. The Big Boy Lineup

I want to highlight the Banton-Anunoby-Barnes-Siakam-Achiuwa lineup Nick Nurse rolled out to begin the fourth. This is the exact same five and scenario that Nurse had to abandon on Saturday because Erik Spolestra’s zone was suffocating. So Miami initially countered with the zone again with the presumed lack of shooting, but this time it didn’t work.

First, Siakam floated right into the open spot of the 2-3 zone, a foot or below the free throw line. Great read by Banton to notice it right away. Siakam promptly made a quick push shot over Dewayne Dedmon. A minute later with the Heat in man, Banton found Pascal in the corner to tie the game at 85 with a corner three. The length of the Raptors was also bothersome on the other end, as Banton forced Jimmy Butler into a tougher runner than he would have liked.

Then how about the confidence from Achiuwa below? Butler closed out but Precious didn’t care.

It’s only the second time in Achiuwa’s career that he’s made multiple threes in a game. Combine that with his three offensive rebounds and rim protection, Precious had one of his best games of the season. A minute later, Banton got a transition layup after bothering Tyler Herro’s inbounds pass which Anunoby picked off. That gave Toronto a 90-85 lead. The quarter started with Miami up 83-80. Banton checked out at the eight minute mark with the Raptors only up one, but that four minute stretch was massive to give Fred and Gary a rest. Trent checked in for Achiuwa to complete the starting five shortly after. Those two did a great job holding the fort.

3. The OG Takeover

Quite frankly, this wasn’t one of Anunoby’s better games until the fourth quarter. He mishandled a couple of situations that could have been scoring opportunities and seemed to be off balance at times. That all changed with one of the plays of the season.

I mentioned earlier that Tucker has never made an all defensive team. However Butler is a five-time selection and OG went right THROUGH him. I’m not posting any anti-Raptors stuff here especially involving the Celtics, but that looked like a less painful version of Paul Pierce dunking on Chris Bosh in the 2009-10 season. It’s on Youtube if you’re really curious.

The next clip below wasn’t the dagger, but it was a back breaker for Miami. OG turns a possession going nowhere into a four point play, because Max Strus picked up a technical foul in frustration. Toronto had 15 offensive rebounds in this game compared to Miami’s 10. The Raptors rank 2nd in that category behind Memphis.

Now here’s the actual dagger on a beautiful lob from Scottie. Anunoby only had 13 points, however they were loud.

4. Two lockdown possessions

The two all-stars (maybe?) both had a massive defensive stand in the last two minutes. Siakam has put on a clinic of getting key stops late in games. Remember the double block on Jimmy in Miami? In this game, Bam failed to score because Pascal stayed down and refused to bite on anything.

Shortly after, Fred forced Butler into a turnover, ruining a crucial Heat possession. Just another recent example of the entire starting unit making winning plays on both sides of the floor.

Sidenotes: Let’s get crazy!

I have to show the play Nurse ran to end the third quarter. Miami actually handled the surprise pretty well, but Dedmon’s block attempt freed up Precious for the put back.

At first I was mesmerized, but then flashbacks started popping up on twitter. This isn’t new, however it’s very creative.

Speaking of Blake, he wrote about it back in 2019.

Sidenotes: Courtside seats… with no courtside fans?

This isn’t the first time a Raptor has stumbled into them and it’s a pet peeve of mine. Can someone with better knowledge explain to me the point of them when nobody is sitting there? They are a hazard now because in regular times a fan would brace a player’s fall. It actually happened twice in this game alone and it’s dumb in my opinion.

Sidenotes: Concluding Heat-Raps III

Spolestra wrapped up the three Heat games over the last two weeks perfectly.

What’s Next?

More familiarity. Chicago again on Thursday.

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