Facing another important game with a needed victory, Miami once again loses and is now looking from the outside in on this year's playoffs. Miami started the night with 16 wins over Toronto (thanks LeBron James) and ended the night with a loss (thanks LeBron).
Time to look at what happened:
The Heat welcomed back Hassan Whiteside, who promised no more eruptions. Henry Walker also got the start again after being signed earlier for the rest of the season. Miami also caught a break with Toronto Raptors big man Jonas Valanciunus out because he became a father.
All good signs for the Heat right? Wrong. Walker celebrated his contract by launching and missing three pointers while Goran Dragic was the only positive for Miami early. Midway through the first Miami was 0-5 from downtown and 4/13 from the field, all stats that led to 17-10 deficit. Despite shooting 33 percent, Miami closed the quarter with a 8-2 run and trailed the struggling Raptors 21-18 after one quarter. Whiteside made his presence felt with five rebounds while Luol Deng had six points.
Remember how Miami all year had 3rd quarter issues? Well for this game it started in the second quarter instead. Three turnovers in a row for the Heat had them trailing 27-23 and another three pointer by Kyle Lowry had Toronto up 34-25 (all part of a 10-2 run.)
Lou Williams proved on this night that he is better than anyone on Miami's bench currently, having nine points of his own as Toronto led 41-29 with under 4 minutes remaining. Every team benefits from having an outside threat and Miami has gone 0-8 from three point land. There's no way undo that Walker contract is there?
Down 46-32 with all signs of a blow out coming, Dwyane Wade hit a three as Miami then went on a 7-0 run and trailed 50-41 at the half. Dragic led the team with 10 points including this beauty:
GIF: 3-point play for the Dragon! pic.twitter.com/61KY31uQuK— Miami HEAT (@MiamiHEAT) March 14, 2015
#HEATgame halftime: HEAT 41 - Raptors 50. Dragic 10pts, Deng 8pts 4rebs, Wade 8pts 3asts, Whiteside 5pts 8rebs.— Miami HEAT (@MiamiHEAT) March 14, 2015
Miami was 1/11 from 3-point land in the first half, and at this point is when you should of just turned off the TV. This game blew wide open in the third. A DeMar DeRozan dunk had Toronto up 57-41 with 10 minutes left and yet again Miami was reminded of the strong possible chance that tonight's most likely loss wouldn't be just a loss:
Hornets having a huge Q3, Heat having a Heat Q3. Miami on track to drop out of playoff field again tonight.— Jason Lieser (@PBPjasonlieser) March 14, 2015
Even though Wade started to get into a rhythm with a team-leading 13 points, Miami went down by 11. Also having 12 turnovers certainly didn't help matters. With less than 8 minutes left the walking double-double Whiteside had 10 points and 7 rebounds but the deficit 59-48. Walker proved that he is indeed the definition of a streaky shooter, going from hitting all net for back-to-back 3-pointers. Whiteside also welcomed anyone and everyone to his block party:
Though the Heat started to have momentum, it was Toronto with 24 points from downtown compared to the Heat's 9. Raptors went 69-56. Things only got worse after that, with Michael Beasley getting technical for getting kneed in his .....sensitive area. That's really been this Heat season though right? Just constantly getting kneed there time and time again.
The Raptors went up 78-63 heading into the fourth. Miami went 3/18 from beyond the arc and had 8 turnovers just in the third. What's worse is that the Charlotte Hornets beat the Chicago Bulls, which dropped Miami to the 9th seed heading into the fourth.
Toronto went 85-68 with under nine minutes left and a sigh of defeat escaped my mouth. If there is a comeback coming, now would be the time. Miami must of heard me. The Heat went to their super small but energetic lineup and went on a 7-0 run led by two Dragic drives and the Heat trailed the Raptors 96-82 with under four minutes remaining. Wade then said it was his turn, going on a personal eight-point run as Miami trailed by 100-90 with a minute remaining. To no one's surprise. the deficit proved too much as the Raptors closed out this one, winning 102-92.
#HEATgame Final: HEAT 92 - Raptors 102. Wade 25pts (9-13 FG), Dragic 18pts 5asts, Beasley 11pts 9rebs, Whiteside 9pts 12rebs.— Miami HEAT (@MiamiHEAT) March 14, 2015
Worst fact to take away from this loss? The Heat stand 9th seed, with only a half game up on the 10th seeded Celtics.
Oh and by the way, the Heat play Cavs and the Portland Trail Blazers next. RIP playoff hopes?