The Miami Heat had several chances to grab homecourt advantage and take a 1-0 series lead against the Toronto Raptors in regulation but were undone with several self-inflicted turnovers and a miraculous half-court buzzer beater by Kyle Lowry to tie the game.
Luckily for the Heat, Toronto's luck ran out in overtime as they proceeded to miss their first three shots and turn the ball over to fall behind 98-90 on a Dwyane Wade jumper before making their first shot after 3:46 of play. It wasn't over, however, with Luol Deng turning the ball over on a bad inbounds pass to Wade which went out of bounds and gave Toronto another shot at tying the game on a 3-pointer. Wade wouldn't have it however and managed to pry the ball away from DeMar DeRozan for the breakaway dunk to clinch the victory and homecourt advantage for the series.
Goran Dragic led the Heat with 26 points and six rebounds. Wade again came through with a strong game, finishing with 24 points (seven in overtime), six rebounds and four assists. Miami's starting backcourt accounted for almost half of all of the team's points. Hassan Whiteside shook off an injury scare in the first half when he slipped and injured his knee to come back and score nine points and grab a game-high 17 rebounds in 39 minutes. Joe Johnson added 16 points (but played a little too much hero ball) and rookie Josh Richardson had 11 points off the bench. Miami was able to win despite committing 20 turnovers, a team-high for this postseason.
Credit the Raptors for coming back and clawing their way back from the dead to force the overtime period, but the Heat can't afford to close out games playing this unorganized and sloppy. Deng made several puzzling choices as the inbound passer during crunch time, including a costly turnover when he travelled along the baseline in an attempt to pass the ball to Wade when the Heat were up by six points with 22 seconds left.
Terrence Ross, who had kept the Raptors competitive in the absence of Kyle Lowry's scoring, nailed a 3-pointer and Hassan Whiteside split a pair of free throws that paved the way for Lowry's improbable 39-foot jumper (after stepping out of bounds), his only 3-pointer of the game and just his third made field goal.
Miami would quickly silence the crowd with Joe Johnson, Wade and Deng all hitting jumpers for the Heat to race out to a 98-90 lead in overtime to pave the way for the intense win.
Game 2 is Thursday at 8:00pm on ESPN.