Mateo’s Hoop Diary: Heat massacred in Toronto

The Toronto squad pounced on the Miami Heat like a swarm of starving velociraptors. The hosts established a 30-point lead within 15 minutes on the evening of Pascal Siakam’s deportation to the Indiana Pacers. RJ Barrett surged for 17 points, stabbing the lane in transition + off the catch for dunks and floaters in the first half. Scottie Barnes supplied five of seven buckets. And deadeye Gary Trent Jr. swished four trifectas.

Without Jaime Jaquez Jr. and Kevin Love, the Heat failed to protect the arc and stop dribble penetration. On the former, when the guests tried blitzing, the hosts swung the rock quickly to the corner for multiple strikes. A Raptors stampede went unanswered with 18 consecutive points in five minutes between the end of the first and the start of the second quarter.

On the other side, Bam Adebayo and Jimmy Butler combined for five of 11 baskets, pressuring the rim, but the rest of the team converted 37% of shots.

Kyle Lowry was ineffective, missing all his triples. Tyler Herro (or a souped-up Jerry Sichting with an Instagram account, usually) was almost a zero, lacking precision on deep shots and had one at close range emphatically rejected. Also, Barnes beat him twice off the dribble and another instance under the rim for a putback.

Through 24 minutes, while playing a third team in four nights, the Heat had surrendered 60.4% of the Raptors’ attempts. Bottom line: The group didn’t care enough. It was down 43-78, with four points on the break and a paltry deuce via second chances. Had one of coach Erik Spoelstra’s trusted lieutenants advised him to bench the starters for their failures, and he followed through, it wouldn’t have been a wrong move. Such an act could send a message of displeasure.

But in the third quarter, the defense tightened up, permitting just six of 22 shots and forcing 11 straight misses in between. The Raptors’ long jumpers were contested and help defenders were quicker to blow up drives.

Offensively, Herro erupted for nine points, maneuvering into the lane for close baskets and a corner triple after pump-faking Dennis Schröder into his team’s bench. Nikola Jović used a Butler pick to get into the paint for a nine-foot hook, scored in the open court and splashed a 3-pointer in Barnes’ face. And the stars (Adebayo, Butler) contributed 10 to the scoreboard, but it wasn’t enough.

In the frame, the Heat outearned the Raptors by 14 points, but it was still behind by 21.

In the fourth, it chopped the deficit down to 13 marks with nine minutes left, but then the Raptors logged nine of 15 baskets to close. Barnes hit backbreaking shots- a turnaround jumper at the nail with Richardson all over him after getting forced to pick up his dribble and another difficult fallaway blast on the baseline with Adebayo nearly breathing on him.

The Heat lost 97-121, with break 10 fastbreak points and six through second chances. Getting behind on the glass by eight boards resulted in the Raps registering 19 second chance points. Butler had 16 on his scoring log on 54.5% shooting. Adebayo also had 16 on seven of 13 tries.

At the postgame presser, Spoelstra said he didn’t see the early onslaught that transpired coming. “It just happened. It was an avalanche at the beginning of the game. Our starters definitely did not set the tone for the game and then it just proceeded to get worse as that first half went on…”

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