Mateo’s Hoop Diary: The Heat took out the Raptors in tune-up game

The first half was unsightly for the Raptors as the Heat inflated its lead to 19 points and then coasted the last two quarters for a win in its penultimate game of the regular season.

The Heat was absent Terry Rozier (neck) and Duncan Robinson (back). The Raptors were missing Scottie Barnes (recovering from left hand surgery, Jakob Poetl (finger). 

Early, Nikola Jović disrupted the visiting attack as help in the backline and finished at the rim three times off a cut, putback, and drive from the top. Bam Adebayo successfully attacked the lane twice. And Jimmy Butler poured in five points.

On the other side, the guests were a two-raptor horde. Immanuel Quickley nailed a right-wing 3-pointer with Adebayo in front and made two freebies. And RJ Barrett mauled the hosts in transition, sliced the baseline to score plus dribbled past Butler into the paint for a layup. The latter followed up the second frame with an encore, and Bruce Brown downed a pair of threes.

In response, Adebayo detonated. He jammed a fastbreak lob from Jaime Jaquez Jr., rim rolled for a layup, swished a tray and punished the cup from the dunker spot. And JJJ produced seven points and four dimes.

On top of that, the Heat’s advantage swelled to 19 points as Adebayo set up Jović at the post with Quickley on his back for a basket.

At halftime, the Heat was ahead 66-50 and ahead on the glass by one with nine less turnovers. Additionally, the crew had 32 paint points, two on the break, four via second chances, 12 after turnovers and 19 from the bench.

The Raptors had 22 interior points, four in the open court, six on extra tries, three after turnovers and 14 from the reserves.

By the halfway mark of the third quarter, the Raptors chewed down the Heat’s lead to a dozen, getting to the restricted area on five occasions and making a transition 3-pointer.

To counter, Adebayo rolled after a handoff to Herro and punched in a two-handed dunk, and Heat closed the interval, logging five of 10 attempts.

The fourth quarter started with the hosts up 92-75.

Despite Barrett draining a corner triple, scoring against the zone and getting by JJJ and Haywood Highsmith, the Heat was never in danger of an upset. Aside from him, the only other Raptor to record multiple field goals late was Garrett Temple.

For the hosts, only three starters played in the fourth- Butler, Jović and Martin- but the Raps never got closer than below 16 points with over 10 minutes to go.

Late, Jaquez made a 3-pointer, canned four freebies, dunked on the break, hit a baseline layup and set up four plays. And Kevin Love supplied seven points and four rebounds.

The Heat won 125-103. The team picked up 54 paint points, seven on the break, eight via second chances, 17 after turnovers and 50 from the bench.

Jović scored 22 points on nine of 18 looks, with five rebounds, two assists and a steal. Jaquez recorded 20 on his ledger on 46.7% accuracy, with four rebounds and nine assists. And Adebayo put up 19 points on 10 attempts, with six boards and three dimes.

The Raptors had 48 interior points, 10 in the open court, 12 on extra tries, eight after turnovers and 30 from the reserves.

Barrett tallied 35 marks on 13 of 18 tries and picked up 11 rebounds and three helpings. Quickley had 15 points, making 36.4% of his shots, with four rebounds and five assists. And Brown had 14 points on six attempts.

At the postgame presser, coach Erik Spoelstra said, “We have a lot to work on…This was a step for sure.”

Jović came next. He was asked about the team’s ball movement and said, “It feels great to get a win where [we] had so many assists. Thirty-seven? That’s what it was all about in the morning practice… That’s how we got to play if we want to score and that’s what we did tonight.”

The Heat will not practice on Saturday.

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