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Overtime loss dashes Heat playoff hopes

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Miami dropped its fourth straight game.

NBA: Miami Heat at Toronto Raptors John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

Playing for their playoff hopes Sunday afternoon against the Toronto Raptors, the Miami Heat had the ball with 10 seconds left in regulation. The score was tied 103-103. But the Heat couldn’t get the ball into Dwyane Wade, and Bam Adebayo caught the ball ahead of the 3-point line. The ball made its way to James Johnson, who missed a corner 3.

And Miami didn’t stand a chance in overtime, as the Raptors quickly went up by five points. A 3 from Pascal Siakam with 39 seconds left put Toronto up seven, sealing the deal. And the Heat now find themselves at the brink of elimination.

The loss ensures that the Heat will finish the season below the .500 mark, having now lost four straight games at the worst possible time.

Wade, who entered the game to a rousing ovation from Toronto fans, led the Heat with 21 points off the bench. He shot 7-of-14 overall and hit four 3-pointers, including big ones to close the second and third quarters. Wade also had five assists in his 32 minutes of action.

The Heat again made critical errors with their zone defense. The Raptors connected on 16 3-pointers, as the Toronto ball movement found seams in Miami’s 2-3 defense. Just as the passing big man Al Horford exploited the Heat’s hole in the middle of the floor of the Heat’s defense against the Boston Celtics last week, Marc Gasol did the same again. Gasol finished with seven assists to go along with his 10 boards and eight points.

James Johnson was a bright spot for Miami, and he played like the guy who helped push the Heat to the brink of the playoffs two years ago. Johnson finished with 18 points on 6-of-11 shooting from the field and five assists. Johnson also played some tough defense on Kawhi Leonard, who shot 7-of-19 from the field overall. But the former Raptors missed a critical free throw in the closing minute of regulation, changing the calculation for Toronto the next time they took the ball.

Hassan Whiteside had a nice stretch in the second quarter, scoring easily off of pick-and-roll action on multiple occasions. Whiteside finished with 14 points off the bench on 7-of-9 shooting from the field, nine rebounds and one block in 21 minutes.

Ultimately, the Heat didn’t get enough. Rodney McGruder was just 1-for-6 from the field, including some misses in the paint that he should be able to convert. With McGruder getting minutes due to Josh Richardson’s injury, McGruder needs to do more to make up for the absence of the Heat’s leading scorer on the season.

Justise Winslow shot just 6-of-18 from the field, and Goran Dragic was 4-for-12. And 12 of Dion Waiters’ shot attempts were from beyond the arc — he did make five 3s — making Waiters less of the dynamic guard he can be at his best and more of a straightaway shooter. Maybe that says something about the Heat season, that the offense just isn’t quite good enough to win these crucial games.

The Heat will play their home season finale Tuesday against the Philadelphia 76ers.