sports 3 days ago

Dragic helps Heat hang around, but Raptors escape with 115-112 victory

Sun Sentinel — By Ira Winderman Sun Sentinel

Feb. 13-- TORONTO-The difference in this Dwyane Wade reunion tour is the lack of a Big Three. This time around, success has to come by ensemble.

The problem for the Miami Heat in Tuesday night's 115-112 loss to the Toronto Raptors at Air Canada Centre is that Goran Dragic essentially stood alone-albeit while doing plenty to keep the Heat afloat.

Ultimately, even with Dragic scoring 16 of his 28 points in the third period, once he took a breather, the Heat were left gasping, down by 17 going into the fourth quarter.

Dragic then rallied the Heat late in the fourth quarter, but by then the deficit proved too much to overcome.

With six losses in their last seven games, the Heat stand eighth in the Eastern Conference going into the conclusion of this road back-to-back set Wednesday night against the Philadelphia 76ers before an eight-day All-Star break.

Even when Dragic was lighting up the Raptors in the third period, Toronto guard DeMar DeRozan was upping the ante, scoring 19 of his 27 points in the quarter.

DeRozan was supported by 22 points from Kyle Lowry and 14 points and 10 rebounds from Serge Ibaka.

The Heat also got 16 points from James Johnson, 15 from Wayne Ellington and 10 points and 10 rebounds from Hassan Whiteside, but this was mostly Dragic or bust.

It also hardly was the most efficient of Heat efforts, allowing 41 points in the third period and committing 16 turnovers that led to 28 points.

As for Wade, there was an encouraging performance from the 36-year-old, with 10 points, 11 rebounds and six assists.

Heat coach Erik Spoelstra stayed with Tyler Johnson as his starting shooting guard, with Wade playing off the bench for the second time in as many games back.

"Not right now," Spoelstra said when asked if he had considered Wade as a starter, "I'm not thinking that. But I'm also open to anything, wherever this course of the season goes."

Spoelstra also stayed with Justise Winslow as the Heat's starting power forward in the injury absence of Kelly Olynyk, with Winslow offering little of note.

The Heat's starting lineup was rounded out by Whiteside, Josh Richardson and Dragic.

A Dragic 3-pointer with 1:06 to play drew the Heat within 112-107, with another Dragic jumper pulling the Heat within 112-109 with 56.9 seconds left.

Tyler Johnson then appeared to block a DeRozan drive from behind, but was called for a foul with 41.1 seconds to play. DeRozan made only the second foul shot to give Toronto a 113-109 lead.

Later, an Ellington 3-pointer with 6.6 seconds to play drew the Heat within 114-112.

Without any timeouts, the Heat then put C.J. Miles on the line with 3.9 seconds left. He made only the first, with a Richardson running 3-point attempt off at the buzzer.

Dragic scored 16 of the Heat's first 20 points of the second half, but once he went to the bench with the Heat within two with 4:45 to play in the third quarter, the Heat offense struggled and the defense faltered.

DeRozan, by contrast, played all 12 minutes in the third.

That had the Raptors taking a 98-81 lead into the final period.

With Lowry maximizing the clock to create two-for-one possessions for the Raptors at the end of the second period and converting 3-pointers with each shot, Toronto overcame an eight-point Heat second-period lead to take a 57-55 halftime edge.

Lowry was up to 13 points and six assists at the intermission.

With Miles converting from 27 feet just before the end of the opening period, the Raptors took a 28-24 lead into the second quarter.

Wade played as the Heat's fourth reserve, after Ellington, Bam Adebayo and James Johnson had entered.

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