The Miami Heat were down big in the second half against the Toronto Raptors but they clawed back to make it interesting down the stretch in what was ultimately a 125-115 loss. But as tough as the defeat was, the bigger story of the night arguably was Dwyane Wade’s huge game in which he scored a season-high 35 points in 34 minutes off the bench.
Wade not only scored the most points by a reserve this NBA season but he also broke the franchise record for points off the bench. Fox Sports Sun also noted it was his 219th game with 30 points or more as a Heat player. His stroke was effortless from 3-point range, where he went 4-7, in a highly efficient night in which he went 13-22 overall from the field. He scored from just about everywhere from the field and it was a vintage performance to remember in the Heat legend’s final season.
Miami also wouldn’t have had a chance in this game if it wasn’t for the herculean effort that second-year big man Bam Adebayo gave tonight, with a career-high 21 rebounds as well as 16 points in another game in which Hassan Whiteside (two points, five rebounds in 12 minutes) watched the fourth quarter from the bench.
Toronto improved their NBA-best record to 17-4 with contributions from all of their key players, led by superstar Kawhi Leonard. Miami somehow went the entire first half without committing a turnover, their first time ever in franchise history, but it didn’t make a difference as the far superior team had their way with the Heat’s defense and were up 63-54 by halftime.
Two big runs when play resumed boosted the lead to 26 points but Erik Spoelstra found a tight rotation that worked with reserves Wade, Adebayo, Kelly Olynyk and Justise Winslow putting in valuable minutes and helping to cut the lead significantly by the end of the quarter.
A Wade 3-pointer cut the lead down to eight points in the fourth quarter twice, but Fred VanVleet responded both times with baskets of his own and the Raptors iced the game with a 7-0 run in 90 seconds.