TORONTO – Even a half-court heave at the end of regulation by Kyle Lowry officially measured at 39-feet couldn’t give the Raptors enough lives to win Game 1 vs Miami, falling 102-96.
Another chance, down by three with just seconds left in the overtime period and the Raptors couldn’t get the ball inbounds sealed their fate.
You might call it a good loss if you believe in such a thing.
This current group of Raptors hasn’t won the opening game of a playoff series in the past three years but momentum seemed to be in their favour heading into OT.
In overtime the Heat put together a quick 6-0 stretch that basically put the game away.
“It’s a darn good team, Toronto is a very good team,” said Heat coach Erik Spoelstra. “The natural human condition after Lowry hit that bomb, you have to collect yourself and some of what we’ve gone through helped us tonight.”
Miami was led by the back court of Dragic and Wade who finished with 26 and 24 points respectively. Joe Johnson added 16 and Hassan Whiteside grabbed a monstrous 17 rebounds.
Jonas Valanciunas got the best of Whiteside for the most part with 24 and 14, while DeRozan added 22 points even with the defence focusing on him. Terrence Ross provided a spark off the bench with 19.
“We put ourselves in a position to win in overtime when Kyle hit that shot but unfortunately it didn’t come out that way,” said Patrick Patterson after the game. He came off the bench after starting the last few games of the Pacers series while the Raptors elected to start Norman Powell in his place to match up with the small-ball Heat.
Lowry finished with just seven points despite the highlight of the postseason, and shot just 3-13 from the field and 1-7 from three. He’s currently shooting just 16% from deep in the playoffs, the result of a nagging bursitis in his right elbow.
If he can’t find his touch, the Raptors may not be able to put up enough points to make up for one all-star playing at 1/4 capacity.
The other all-star, DeMar DeRozan, doesn’t think that will be an issue: “Just like in the regular season he’s gonna get through it and once he does it’s definitely going to come at a great point.”
Lowry didn’t speak to any media at the ACC following the game, instead he was upstairs shooting on the Raptors practice court.
“It didn’t come down to the last shot or the last play,” said Dwane Casey. “In a playoff situation every possession is important and there was a stretch there where we just didn’t get it done and they did.”
The Raptors will need to shoot better than 24% from downtown and fix the rebounding margin that they lost 52-41 in the first game of the series, Lowry aside, to hope to advance.
Game 2 will be back at the Air Canada Centre on Thursday night.