After barely skating past Indiana in the first round, the Raptors took on the Heat in Toronto to start their semifinal series. It took five periods, but Miami jumped out to an early series lead with their 102-96 overtime win on the road.
Both teams shot horribly bad in the first quarter and tied with 18 points. The Heat had a somewhat balanced scoring attack to open the game, and had six players contribute to their total — albeit they shot 8/21 (38%), but there was a load of unselfishness. Amar’e Stoudemire and Dwyane Wade each had four to lead. The Raptors, on the other hand, had Jonas Valanciunas (10) and DeMar DeRozan (8) combined for their points, and they did so on 8/10 shooting. The rest of the team was 0/9.
Miami shot the same percentage in the second quarter, but got to the foul line five times (zero attempts in the first), and connected on all five for a 23-point quarter. Joe Johnson and Goran Dragic were the two leaders scorers with seven and six, respectively. Wade rested for most of the quarter and didn’t tally any points. The Raptors were fortunate to see some other guys get involved on offense, and Terrence Ross erupted for 11 points on 4/6 shooting to lead Toronto to a 25-point quarter. DeMarre Carroll, not known for his offense, had six points to trail Ross. Toronto led 45-43 at the half despite shooting a tad under 45% from the field.
The Heat came out and hit the ground running in the third quarter and pounded in 27 points on a much improved 58% shooting. Dragic and Wade were extremely active on offense and split 19 points between them on 7/10 shooting — The Dragon led with ten while Flash had nine. Toronto struggled to shoot because DeRozan struggled to shoot, something that’s hampered him this year. The Raptors best offensive weapon chucked up ten shots in the quarter and connected on just three of them for eight points. The rest of the team shot 5/11. Toronto scored just 20 points and entered the fourth trailing 68-63.
Toronto crawled back in the fourth behind Cory Joseph‘s eight points and Ross’ six. They hung 27 on Miami on 50% shooting, but it was Kyle Lowry who forced the overtime period. On the quarter’s final shot, at the buzzer, Lowry heaved a halfcourt prayer and swished his only three-point field goal of the evening. Ross put the Raptors in that position by nailing a three with 8.7 seconds left that cut the lead to 89-86, Miami; he followed it by hitting a free throw the next possession. Whiteside hit just one-of-two free throws that allowed Toronto to be in that position. Both teams walked into OT tied at 90.
In a scene that we’ve seen numerous times before, Wade was able to almost single-handedly will the Miami Heat to a victory. Wade tallied seven points on 3/5 shooting in OT and added two steals as the Heat outscored the Raptors 12-6 and walked out with a win.
Goran Dragic had a game-high 26 points and Dwyane Wade had a superb all-around performance with 24 points, six rebounds, four assists, three steals, and two blocks. Whiteside was able to pull down 17 boards despite missing some early minutes with a sprained knee.
Valanciunas led the Raptors with 24 points, 14 rebounds, and three blocks while DeRozan had 22 points of his own. Lowry had another poor shooting day and finished 3/13 from the field and 1/7 from three with just seven points. After the game, Lowry stayed on the court until almost 1:00 AM EST shooting.
Game 2 is Thursday, May 5, at 8:00 PM EST in Toronto.