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Heating Up: Raptors vs. Heat Reaction

Miami Heat Heating Up
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What a game. Trailing by double-digits entering the fourth quarter, the Miami Heat looked worn out against the Toronto Raptors. The shooting was not there and Jimmy Butler was getting little support. Then the Heat made a run and tied the game. It looked like they had the game wrapped up until a late foul call gave Scottie Barnes two free throws to send it to overtime. The teams would go on to play two more overtimes with the Raptors winning the game in the end. With the loss, the Heat drop to 32-18 for the season.

Here are my takeaways from Saturday’s loss to Toronto.

Jimmy Butler Carrying the Offensive Load

The Heat were stuck in the mud for the first half. Toronto had a 15-point lead in the second period and the Heat were struggling on offense. With Miami needing a spark, Butler took it upon himself to carry the offensive load. Every time he got the ball, Butler made it his mission to attack the basket. He did it with acrobatic layups, something different from the usual bully ball we’re accustomed to watching. He had 24 points by the end of the first half. As the game went on, fatigue started to kick in for Butler who played a game-high 52 minutes. Still, it was a great all-around performance for the Heat star. Butler ended the night with 37 points, 14 rebounds, and 10 assists.

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Herro’s Struggles Continue

For the second consecutive night, Tyler Herro struggled on the offensive end. It’s not surprising considering the team he played against. Some of Herro’s worst games this season have come against teams with great length, and that’s exactly what the Raptors have. The first team to exploit this was the Cleveland Cavaliers. The Raptors make it even more challenging because they have switchable defenders. Whenever he asks for a screen, there’s another good defender there to slow him down. The Raptors also trapped him on the pick-and-rolls. With Herro struggling, it cut off Miami’s offensive rhythm. He’s going to have to break through this issue or else he will start to see more of these defensive coverages. Herro ended the night with 13 points.

Challenges the Raptors Provide

If there’s any team Miami is going to struggle with, it’s one with the length and athleticism a team like the Raptors possesses. We saw what they did to Miami’s offense early in the first half, especially with Butler on the bench. Usually, they do fine in the non-Butler minutes. However, as mentioned before, they slowed down Herro with elite defense. As a result, the Heat were forced into uncomfortable offensive possessions. On the other end of the floor, the Toronto took advantage of Miami’s switching. Knowing the Heat like to switch a lot, they were able to hunt the mismatches.  Overall, it was a great game plan for the Raptors.

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Robinson’s Quiet Night

Unlike the previous games, Duncan Robinson was off from downtown on Saturday. Toronto made it their mission to stop him no matter what. They played physical with Robinson all night long. There were multiple times where they were grabbing him as he was trying to shake free. Robinson was clearly frustrated with the way the Raptors were guarding him. Out of all of his shooting attempts, he only had one good look in the third period but missed. He was benched after that quarter. Robinson finished the night scoreless while shooting 0-5 from field.

Next Up: At the Boston Celtics on Monday. Game tips off at 7:30pm EST.


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Main Image designed by Jeremy Guerin @jeremycguerin 

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Check us out on our socials:   
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