April 18, 2021

VanVleet dazzles as Raptors sink Heat

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Fred VanVleet scored a career-high 36 points, leading the Toronto Raptors to a 107-103 win over the Miami Heat on Monday afternoon as the NBA restart continued in Florida.

Game leaders

Toronto Raptors

  • Points: Fred VanVleet – 36
  • Assists: Norman Powell – 5
  • Rebounds: Kyle Lowry- 8

Miami Heat

  • Points: Goran Dragic – 25
  • Assists: Jimmy Butler – 5
  • Rebounds: Bam Adebayo – 8
  • VanVleet made 8-of-16 from the floor, including 7-of-12 on 3-pointers, and 13-of-13 free throws as Toronto surged to a sixth successive victory that keeps second in the Eastern Conference behind leaders Milwaukee.

    Raptors forward Pascal Siakam had 22 points, although he was held to just seven in the second half, while Toronto also got 15 points off the bench from Serge Ibaka, with starting point guard Kyle Lowry finishing with 14 points, eight rebounds and five assists.

    For good measure VanVleet, an undrafted fourth-year pro from Wichita State, had five rebounds and four assists, while his seven 3-pointers set a career record.

    The difference in the game was 3-point shooting. Toronto made 50 percent (16-for-32), and Miami connected on 31.1 percent (14-for-45).

    Raptors cemented their hold on second sport in the Eastern Conference with a sixth successive win
    Image: Raptors cemented their hold on second sport in the Eastern Conference with a sixth successive win

    Miami were led by Goran Dragic’s 25 points, five rebounds and five assists with Kelly Olynyk (17), Jimmy Butler (16) and Jae Crowder (16) also chipped in a game which saw the Heat playing catch up for long periods.

    Toronto led by as many as eight points in the first half, led 23-17 after the first quarter and 48-44 at the break. Miami had numerous open looks in that first half but shot just 39.5 per cent from the floor, including 5-of-23 on 3-pointers (21.7 percent).

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    Toronto’s own shooting wasn’t pinpoint, just 40.5 per cent from the floor in the first half but 9-of-21 on 3-pointers (42.9 percent) made a big difference.

    The third quarter looked like proving decisive as the Raptors moved out to a 17 point lead at one stage, VanVleet erupting for 18 points in the period. But Miami made inroads and trailed by five heading into the final period.

    Bam Adebayo and the Heat trailed Toronto throughout
    Image: Bam Adebayo and the Heat trailed Toronto throughout

    The Heat took their first lead of the second half on Dragic’s 3-pointer with 10:12 left in the fourth, putting Miami up 87-84 before Toronto took the initiative once again.

    Dragic’s missed free throw with 40 seconds left could’ve tied the score, as the Heat errors crept in. A turnover off of Butler’s hands with 17 seconds left also hurt Miami and Butler’s errant pass with 7.4 seconds left sealed the win for Toronto.

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