Miami was hot right out of the gate, drawing first blood and doing some great work on offense. What’s interesting about the Heat’s offense this season is how many players are involved. In the first few minutes there were baskets from Whiteside, Waiters, Dragic and Babbitt. As a result the Heat got off to a big lead.
Miami was solid on defense to start as well, though it was confusing as to why Waiters started on DeRozan after Winslow’s solid defense on him last season and postseason.
Josh Richardson made his season debut towards the latter half of the first quarter and his rust was evident, but either way it’s great to see him back.
The Raptors put an impressive run together in the second quarter as a result of Lowry and Terrence Ross’ shooting. Ross looked like a man possessed as he went 3-3 from downtown and 6-7 fro the field. The Heat really can’t depend on Hassan Whiteside alone to protect the key, and the inability to consistently get stoppages is what’s causing them to lose their early leads.
Tyler Johnson was spectacular for Miami off the bench, scoring 13 points in the first half and working with Dragic to whether the storm and keep the Heat in the game. As the first half came to a close, Miami’s sharing of the ball declined with Dragic electing to kind of lob it to Whiteside every time he came down the floor.
Miami came into the second half swinging, but they were barraged by Toronto’s offense not long after. The Heat slowed down their offense to combat their scoring drought, but they looked awful on the defensive end allowing Toronto to continue padding their lead.
There were a few bright spots for Miami in the third, but the Heat couldn’t get it going until their young core reentered the game and sparked a great offensive run. Their strong play at the end of the quarter brought the Heat within three headed into the fourth.
The Heat were ice cold for the first five minutes of the fourth going scoreless. Miami actually wasn’t really able to get anything going the rest of the time either. There were a lot of mistakes, some needless fouls and little defense and so they lost, it’s as simple as that. There were a lot of things to like about how Miami played, and a lot to dislike. This team still has a lot to learn, but they have a lot of time to do so.
Post Game Thoughts:
- Tyler Johnson is making that contract look like a steal.
- Goran Dragic is necessary to keep the Heat in games, but getting nearly shut out in the second half is inexcusable.
- Josh looked really rusty, but he’ll be an integral part of this team very soon.
- The Heat play very hard, even when they’re down by a large margin.
- The Heat miss Luol Deng on defense a lot.
- The Raptors have so many options on offense, and their chemistry is amazing to watch.