The Miami Heat were in for a challenge on Monday night. Like the Heat, the Toronto Raptors are a tough defensive-minded team with size and length. The Raptors’ size made it difficult for the Heat early on by forcing them into turnovers. Both teams went back and forth throughout the game. Whoever made the most plays would win in the end, and that’s what the Miami did. After Bam Adebayo sunk two clutch free throws, the Heat were able to seal the victory. With the win, Miami moves to 28-16 for the season.
Here are my takeaways from Monday’s win over Toronto.
Welcome Back Bam
The Heat were more than happy to welcome their starting center back into the lineup. With Adebayo back, it forced Omer Yurtseven out of the rotation. As expected, the first game jitters were there on the offensive end for Adebayo. He was a little bit out of sync early on as his teammates looked for him. However, he wasn’t out of sync on the defensive end. The switching was crisp and on time. He also was able to recover quickly to mess up the Raptors’ plays. Adebayo has been conditioning while he was out, so this is not surprising. Now, he’s going to need some time to get back into a rhythm offensively. Adebayo finished the game with 14 points and nine rebounds.
Herro Answers the Challenge
Tyler Herro has seen plenty of defensive coverages with opposing teams game planning to stop him. One thing that has slowed Herro down was length. As we saw with the Cleveland Cavaliers, teams with length seem to bother him. The Raptors presented that challenge on Monday. Despite that, Herro was able to get to his spots by working extra hard to find defensive gaps. Once he found them, he became a problem for Toronto. The 21-year-old either scored or made the extra pass to an open teammate. The Raptors had trouble slowing him down despite the good defenders they had on the floor. And that speaks volumes to the development he has made this season, ending the night with 23 points on 50 percent shooting.
Butler’s Triple Double
After a rough shooting night on Saturday, Jimmy Butler followed it up with a great all-around game. Butler was aggressive from the start, attacking the Raptors’ defense. He was either scoring in the paint or finding the open teammate. By the end of the first period, Butler had five assists. He played this way the entire game. In the end, his biggest assist of the night came by finding P.J. Tucker in the corner for an open three. Butler finished the night with 19 points, 10 rebounds, and 10 assists. This was the ninth triple-double in his Heat career, tying LeBron James for the most in franchise history.
P.J.'s first 3 of the night? Dagger. pic.twitter.com/nII4tF5FNk
— Miami HEAT (@MiamiHEAT) January 18, 2022
Vincent makes an Impact
Kyle Lowry missed Monday’s action due to personal reasons. With Lowry out, the Heat plugged Gabe Vincent into the starting lineup. Vincent took advantage of his minutes and played very well. When the Raptors switched a big on him, Vincent went into his bag and scored on them. Defensively, he was just as impressive. Vincent stayed in front of the opposing player and made it tough all night. He forced a key jump ball late in the game after guarding a bigger player in the post. The jump ball ended up working in Miami’s favor after Toronto turned it over. Vincent ended the night with 15 points.
Next up: The Portland Trail Blazers on Wednesday. The game tips off at 7:30pm EST.
Follow Jacari McRae on Twitter @JMcRae23
Main Image designed by Jeremy Guerin @jeremycguerin