Raptors run it back to beat the Heat. Norm Powell steps up with Kyle Lowry down
|Toronto Star 22 Jan 2021 at 22:00|
A Gabe Vincent layup had wiped out the final vestiges of a 21-point advantage midway through the third quarter, pulling the Miami Heat into a 61-61 tie, and you could sense the confidence seeping out of the Raptors.
But in one of their most impressive — and maybe most important — recoveries of the season, the Raptors came out of a timeout and reeled off a 12-0 run. It gave them confidence, it gave them a big lead, and it ultimately gave them a 101-81 victory over the Heat on Friday night in Tampa.
A clutch three-pointer from Stanley Johnson and a steal and breakaway basket by OG Anunoby keyed that late-third run that gave the Raptors control of the game.
The win gives them a 5-9 record heading into a Sunday-Monday series in Indiana, and was the Raptors’ fourth in five games. They had come in off a Wednesday performance against Miami that coach Nick Nurse had termed “unacceptable” before Friday’s tip, and responded with a blistering start.
“We were building and building and building and building, and it kind of culminated with that defensive effort against Dallas (on Monday),” Nurse said. “And then there was just nothing there the other night. It’s hard to explain. It just happens, but it’s unacceptable.”
But as good as they were in building a 17-point first-quarter lead and accepting Nurse’s challenge to work harder, they were far too nonchalant in the middle portion of the game. It wasn’t until they buckled down in the final five minutes of the third quarter and first six of the fourth that they were able to put Miami away.
Norm Powell, starting for Kyle Lowry (toe infection), had 23 points for the Raptors, while Anunoby chipped in with 21.