They sure do make it interesting.
The Raptors at one point had 23 point lead early in the third quarter, and then it almost disappeared by the middle of the 4th quarter. The Heat got within 1.
Let’s backtrack for a moment here and see what happened. The Raptors came out the gate a little sloppy, they were shooting the ball well, but only lead by 2 because of the miscues. In the second quarter, they clean up their act, and took advantage of the Heat team without DWade on the floor. They had total momentum when Turkoglu hit a buzzer beater 3 and up 20 at the half.
The Heat worked hard on the defensive end in the third quarter, and force the Raptors to hit jump shots and attacking them to get to the line. The turnovers continue to hurt Toronto, and the lead was cut to 6 after 3.
In the fourth, after the Heat cut the lead to one point, the Raptors start making some big shots. Bargnani hits a 3, Jack hits a couple and it’s game over. The first win by the Raptors when they allowed 100 points.
This is easily the best game by Jarrett Jack as a Raptor. With his team struggling with turnovers, Jack didn’t turn the ball over once. And he made shots. If I am the opposition, I would leave Jack open every time considering the other options I have. So it’s very important for Jack to hit jumpers, otherwise he isn’t going to play alot. Tonight he scored 17 points 3-4 from downtown.
This is also the battle of Miami’s backcourt and Toronto’s front court. Bosh/Bargnani combo has 53 points and 22 rebounds while Wade/Chalmers has 60 points and 11 assists. Chalmers has his best game tonight hitting 5 threes. In fact, the Heat front court ididn’t do too badly either, but it’s their bench that killed them. Without Haslem, QRich and Chris Quinn, their bench could only muster 10 points. That just doesn’t cut it on the road.
For the Raptors, this is 3rd time where the Raptors had a big lead and squandered it. This can’t continue, it seems like they relaxed and the opponent started to play better and the lead disappeared. Right now they are playing fire and they will get burn. The good thing is that the Raptors have shown some toughness and hold on to win, but I want to see the coaching staff challenging these guys to build to 30 point lead, instead of backing up.
Keys to the win:
- Bench. Belinelli didn’t play well, but Jack stepped up. Amir Johnson added 9 points off the bench. In fact, Jack outscored the entire Miami bench 17-10.
- Bend but not break. The Heat worked hard to cut the lead, but spend so much energy that they didn’t have anything left in the end. They are also playing 3 games in 4 nights.
- When you shoot 57%, you usually win. The Raptors shoot the ball extremely well, and the offense continues to be the best in the league.
Next game will be a big one against Dwight Howard, Rashard Lewis and our dear friend VC. The last time they matched up, the Magic went crazy from downtown, beating the Raptors despite without Lewis and Carter. If I am the Raptors, I would let Howard go crazy but not the 3 point shooter. Howard shoot something like 16/18 from the FT line, and that’s not going to happen again.
Tags: Toronto Raptors