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Heat fall to Raptors in fourth quarter thriller

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Despite almost losing all control in the third, Miami battled back to ultimately come up short in the final seconds against Toronto

Miami Heat v Toronto Raptors Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images

First Quarter:

Both the Heat and Raptors struggled to score to start this one, but finally got things going a couple minutes in. After that, they started going going back and forth with the lead fluctuating multiple times. It was Goran Dragic who would shoulder the scoring load to start, as he put on a show with some incredible plays that were almost Steve Nash-like. Hassan was also a beast on the glass, grabbing five boards. Wade would replace Dragic in the second unit and immediately display improved chemistry with his teammates. The Heat looked very good, even going on an 11-2 scoring run.

The Raptors would stay on their tail though, tying the game and eventually stealing the lead. Overall the Heat turned in a very solid quarter, with good defense, solid offense and a vintage Wade slam. They’d head into the second down only 4.

Second Quarter:

Wayne Ellington would get things started in the third with a signature three. With the reserves out there, it was Wade and James Johnson who took turns running the offense. It was interesting however, how passive the Heat became on offense often electing to pass even with some available looks. This would pass, with Miami going on an 15-3 scoring run to take the lead off of great baskets by Wade and Richardson and Ellington.

I have to say, the Heat are more fun with Wade on the court. Not just because I am a biased Wade fan, but because of his basketball IQ. His passing has been great since returning and really helps Miami make shots where they used to enter scoring droughts.

The Raptors kept things close, but the Heat really delivered with James Johnson scoring some great buckets and Justise working hard to shut down DeMar Derozan. James Johnson looked like an absolute monster as he was flawless from the field and a pest on defense. After getting ejected against the Raptors last time, Johnson simply took a rain check on his revenge game.

The Raps would pull things back on a 13-4 run with Kyle Lowry hitting a buzzer beater three. The Heat would head into the second half down 2.

Third Quarter:

Dragic got Miami off to a good start with a three pointer, and not so long after a big alley-oop to Hassan. The Raptors wouldn’t stay quiet though, with DeRozan finally finding his groove on offense. The Heat were rolling though, with Dragic absolutely breathing fire scoring 16 points. It almost looked like Dragic was on a mission to show why he’s an All-Star, and the results were speaking for themselves.

Wade would replace Dragic again, and score right away to keep things rolling with the second unit. Unfortunately, the Raptors would catch a wave and go on a 12-2 run. Not that it was that surprising. The Raptors are a very good team. When they’re rolling (especially when DeMar is rolling) it’s hard to stop them. They really are a well oiled machine. DeMar came to life in the third and with it sparked a Raptors resurgence. It also didn’t help that the Heat kept turning the ball over, what worked early for Heat vanished. In a twist of fate, what started as a solid quarter brought all the negative force of turd quarter, but this time in the final five minutes.

Fourth Quarter:

The Heat worked to chip away at the Raptors’ lead and were solid in doing so. They brought themselves back within eleven, and looked aggressive on defense even without JRich or Justise on the floor. Still the Raptors continued to be succesful and counteract Miami’s progress.

When the game seemed out of reach, the second unit came in and didn’t relent, going on an13-0 run and bringing the game within 3. This is what the Heat do, they don’t quit and keep chipping no matter who they have on the floor.

In the final minute DeRozan would go to the line on a questionable foul and go 1 of two. Within four, Miami would get possession and Goran would miss his three point attempt. JRich would get a nice look from beyond the arc, but it wouldn’t fall. The Heat would get possession off the rebound and take a timeout to set up a play for a huge Wayne Ellington three. Josh Richardson would get one more chance off a Raptors free throw miss with 3.9 seconds left, but his Hail Mary wouldn’t fall.

Miami’s show of resilience wasn’t for nothing, but still a tough loss for the Heat.