There are 10 takeaways from Toronto Raptors’s 114-109 loss near Miami Heat.
One – Kyle Lori was pushed under the snow by the last three of The Heat Raptors to win his long-awaited return to Toronto. Miami overcame a 10-point halftime deficit for a great win on the second night of back-to-back without Jimmy Butler and other experienced soldiers sitting out due to rest. For the Raptors, an opportunity to be ahead of the Chicago Bulls was missed, having lost to the Heat the night before but was ahead of the Raptors due to a tiebreaker.
Two – The story of the game was about Lori. The competition and anticipation for his return was overwhelming, and it was a beautiful tribute to one of the most influential players in franchise history. Lori set foot in the Scotiabank Arena after a sharp suit and flashy Raptors championship ring before praising the whole organization, leaving the players to love the coach, the management and even the media. Then before the opening tip, the Raptors played a great tribute video for their former captain, who held his two sons in each arm on center court while holding back tears in a loud voice. And even after defeating the team, there were still plenty of fans who had gathered around him during his post-game interviews and who cheered him on for the last time when Lori walked to the four corners of the floor soaked in all the praise from the fans. Who arrived early and was late to enjoy every second of his return home.
Three – The first half was about a game between Lori and her former teammates. In the first possession of the game, the Raptors open by sending a solid trap to Lori, just as the long-experienced had predicted. On the contrary, Lori reacts by trying to slide down Pascal Siakam on a drive to sell her signature charge. Both sides had a clear attempt to outdo each other, as Siakam and Fred Vanvalit continued to try to find Lori, who had beaten the Raptors with small tricks to bait Siakam and Scottie Burns in a cheap foul, as well as faked out Chris Boucher. Get three free of his shorts. There was an irresistible feeling of nostalgia in watching these old champions move towards each other, and although Lori got the upper hand this time, you can’t help but laugh at the lasting bond with her.
Four – Lori smartly diverted her attention to create opportunities for her teammates. He took just eight shots, knowing full well that his former coach would try to get the ball out of his hands, but did so productively and purposefully. Lori would either hit the pass before help arrived, or she would deliberately drag the crowd into the traffic, before driving towards the shooters. The heaters were well prepared for these sequences, as they were always perfectly spaced to capitalize. Lori finished with 10 assists and made seven trips to the foul line. Lori made the pre-game point that all the former raptors fought to get their average back, which is true because Dimmer DeRozan was famously blown away by Lori for setting the game-winner for Kauhi Leonard, who trapped himself and in his first reunion. Nine turnovers coughed. But in Lori’s case, he surpassed the coverage without forcing his own scoring and passes and his teammates to win the team game.
Five – Miami’s supporting cast was sharp when they needed it. The Heat hit 18 threes with a 12-for-12 score in the second half to clear the double-digit deficit. Max Strauss and Victor Oladipo made 13 triplets, the most damage in the fourth quarter, including several hard shots to keep the Raptors at bay. At the other end, the Raptors lacked firepower, and Miami used the same tactic to trap Vanvolit in the second half after burning them for 21 points in the first half. Burns tried to expand himself by launching nine threes, which is a lot more for a poor shooter, even if his aggression comes from a good place.
Six – Raptors also had trouble covering Tyler Hero, who came close to triple-double. Hero is consistently effective for a lock to win the sixth man of the year and a hit for the second unit, but the Raptors have historically controlled him. Tonight, however, Hero was able to catch the raptors flat-footed all night, either through his perpetual off-ball movement to be spring free for the jumpers, or by taking quick and decisive action to get the ball running. Hero segregated the Raptors in the second half, delivering three straight dimes to Om’s Yertseven in an open roll in the basket when the Raptors topped him out, and three hard drives to set up Strauss twice and Oladipo to hit the original three. Leadership
Seven-Siakam had 29 points but still seemed to miss the opportunity. With the exception of Butler and PJ Tucker, there was no one on the hit that matched Siakam for size. Perhaps they could change the left Adebayo on him, but Siakam had a good effect on his speed to create a clean look there. The only limited reason was that Siakam did not see enough balls, especially in the second quarter when he played a full 12 minutes but tried only three shots. Siakam scored 15 late in the fourth, reached the foul line, dropped a three and scored repeatedly against Yertseven in the post despite being a minor player, but it was too late. As soon as it became clear that the hit wanted to trap Vanvolit in the second half, the offense should have been transferred to Siakam.
Eight-Burns was overall productive but could read better about crime. He has taken nine threes because the hit is deliberately helping him, but at the moment it is still a lot of effort for his accuracy. The group’s biggest regret was an early triple with 19 seconds left on the clock, where it would have been better to try to attack Markif Morris with a bounce instead of a settlement. Burns also had two instances where he was tested by Strauss, who is much younger and a major target for Burns’ attack, he was determined for a pair of midrange jumpers. Apart from his offensive basket going, there were very few chances where Burns was able to pull the crowd and kick the ball out, which is why he ended up with just two assists.
No – the Raptors got nothing off the bench while scoring 45-13 near the Miami Reserve. Valuable Achia was great late on, but he looked restless and uncertain against his former team. Boucher was a bit wild defensively and was unable to convert as much opportunity as he needed as he was dropped under the basket in two laps. Thad Young’s decision was tough and in a reverse corner three Gary Trent Jr. was given a Night of Delivery with a cross-court dime, but he was also wasteful in the offense by shaking an open three, blocking a transition layup, and a pair of foul shots. Missing. The reality is that none of the three are consistent scorers, so these empty nights are bound to happen from time to time. The good thing is that these games were ideal, but now rarely.
In 13 minutes Khum Birch was completely empty. Nick Nurse has been back to Birch for spot start throughout the season, and the idea probably matches the physique from Adebayo, but Birch has rarely noticed either end. His tenure in the third quarter was particularly rough, as he lost his leg, was defeated in the rebound, and his men refused to see the score even as they went to trap Vanvolit and Siakam. It’s a lot like playing 4-on-5 on the floor with him, and it’s time for post-season, the nurse should really rely on the trio of Young, Achiwa and Boucher for a few minutes behind Burns or Siakam in the beginning. Team