In their first official “home game” in months, Miami couldn’t get their offense flowing in the first quarter despite consistent good looks at the basket. As a team they only mustered 17 points for the quarter but stayed within striking distance thanks to the efforts of Jimmy Butler, who scored the first six points and dished out an assist to Jae Crowder, who again started in place of Meyers Leonard and finished with 16 points, for the 3-pointer. Kendrick Nunn never got going for the Heat and Bam Adebayo also struggled to make an impact in the game early.
Those early good looks from deep went away as the Raptors adjusted their defense and managed to contain Nunn and Duncan Robinson, who was in danger of breaking his streak of 3-pointers until the second half, to just five total points for the two starters. Combined with just 10 points from Adebayo, Miami was still able to play the defending NBA champs evenly thanks to their depth, with Goran Dragic, Tyler Herro and Kelly Olynyk responsible for 54 of the team’s 103 points.
This despite Kyle Lowry struggling with foul trouble, but a career-high 36 points from Fred VanVleet — who was unstoppable from long range with seven 3s and cutting to the basket — led the way for Toronto, who always seemed to have an answer when the Heat made a run. With the Raptors in control of the game leading by 17 midway through the third quarter, the Heat went on their first substantial run of the game and took the lead with 10 minutes left in the game.
Again the Raptors fought back, but Dragic had a chance to tie the game late but missed a free throw, a costly one given it was the team’s first miss in 16 tries. However the Heat still had two opportunities to retake the lead in crunch time but failed to even attempt a shot with unforced turnovers and the Raptors would hold on for their second win in two games since the restart and their first win against the Heat this season.
Miami next will face the Boston Celtics tomorrow at 6:30pm.