Both teams were sloppy to start this one, but it was Toronto who would draw first blood off a Siakam bunny.
Miami was aggressive on defense to start, unfortunately, that also led to them overcommitting and leaving Normal Powell open. With that, the Raps were able to go on a 7-0 run while the Heat struggled to score. Powell was lights out from three to start the game.
Bam Adebayo would eventually get it going showing off his new midrange abilities to get the Heat on the board. Duncan Robinson also picked up where he left off last game getting on the board for yet another three-pointer. Still, even with things going fairly well on offense Miami’s tendency to overshare the ball led to way too many turnovers. The Heat had 6 in the quarter.
With Normal Powell feasting on offense and OG Anunoby, Pascal Siakam and Fred Vanvleet delivering from deep the Raptors built a big lead in the first. The Heat would get some good looks, and Kendrick Nunn almost posterized Chris Boucher, but sloppy play found them down 17 going into the second quarter.
Miami opened the second back in their two-three zone and immediately caused a turnover on Chris Boucher. They also experimented with a half-court press that caused another turnover. Miami’s pressure generated a 10-3 run with the Heat attempting to claw back into this one.
With Miami desperate for offense, Kendrick Nunn was able to contribute as he drove and hit from beyond the arc. He’s really resembled his rookie self the last few games. If this is sustainable for Nunn, it would be a huge help for the Heat.
Still, other than Kendrick Nunn the Heat struggled to capitalize on their exceptional defensive play allowing Toronto to maintain a 19 point lead. The Heat would battle back with Nunn continuing to do damage and Goran Dragic getting in on the action, but Norman Powell’s Steph Curry impression continued to cause problems.
The Heat would go into the second half down 14.
Goran Dragic got things going to start out the third for the Heat, and Bam followed it up with a dunk off a pass from Duncan (lol). Duncan also scored his third three of the game to help cut the Raptors’ lead down to single digits.
Miami was impressive drawing offensive fouls on the Raptors that helped create a 7-0 run. The defensive effort led to multiple offensive opportunities and got the Heat within striking distance.
Gabe Vincent’s aggressive play would help the Heat tie it up, but the Raptors battled to take the lead back thanks to shooting from Pascal, OG Anunoby, and Chris Boucher. Miami was in for an uphill battle heading into the fourth
Despite spending much of the third in a scoring drought, Nunn and Iguodala would get the Heat going to start the fourth. Still, the Raptors’ reserves went to work keeping Miami out of striking distance with Terrence Davis and Stanley Johnson hitting some big shots.
One of the main issues with Miami’s 2-3 zone is that they often stay in it longer than they need to. Usually, this leads to teams figuring it out, and that was the issue tonight. But this isn’t new, it’s something that has haunted the Heat since last season and through the playoffs.
Also, when Miami finds themselves down a fair amount they usually revert to forcing three-pointers. On occasion, this works ( see Duncan Robinson), but in other instances (tonight) it buries them even further. Tonight the Heat shot 22.6% from deep, at a certain point you might want to mix it up and drive to the rim instead.
They didn’t. After cutting a 20 point deficit to tie things up in the third, they’d go down 20 once again. I know the Heat don’t have their complete roster, but in a shortened season these losses will pile up. There’s really no guarantee that adding Jimmy back will create a winning streak for this team. So there’s definitely some ambiguity surrounding this Heat team.
The Heat gets a chance to right the ship tomorrow against Brooklyn’s big three, but it’s not going to be easy.