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Wayne Ellington’s baseline layup fell through the mesh with 0.3 seconds remaining to hand the Miami Heat a shocking 90-89 victory over the Toronto Raptors at Air Canada Centre. With the loss, Miami extended its winning streak to five games. Meanwhile, Toronto had a five-game winning streak of its own snapped.
Even in defeat, the Raptors showed what their collective character is all about; all of Dwane Casey’s players embodied a highly competitive, tenacious, never-say-quit brand of basketball on Tuesday night. Over the course of the season, those characteristics have become ingrained in the Raptors’ DNA.
The team plane landed at 4 AM. The Raps were playing the second night of a back-to-back set. Kyle Lowry was unavailable, and Serge Ibaka was ejected early in the second half after getting in a skirmish with James Johnson. Toronto really had all the necessary excuses to lean on in the event of a poor performance. But lo and behold, Casey’s squad showed no quit.
Even though they were exhausted, Toronto battled back in the fourth, outscoring Miami 25-18 to regain a slim lead with only a couple minutes remaining. It would have been quite the comeback if not for Ellington’s last-second heroics.
Speaking of Ellington, the sharpshooter chipped in 15 points off the bench. Heat rookie Bam Adebayo was also terrific off the pine, finishing with a monster line of 16 points, 15 rebounds, and 5 blocks in 32 minutes. Goran Dragic led Miami with 24 points on 10 of 21 shooting.
DeMar DeRozan had a rare off night from the field, converting just 10 of his 29 field goals to finish with a team-high 25 points. DeRozan did lead Toronto’s fourth-quarter comeback, but like the rest of the Raps was clearly exhausted.
With an off-day before Thursday’s game against Cleveland, expect DeRozan and the Raptors to rest up and bounce back with a stronger performance when the lights are shining brightest.