Raptors Roar Back With OT Win, Tie Series Vs Heat

DeMarre Carroll had 21 points, 5 rebounds and 4 steals Thursday as the Toronto Raptors outlasted Miami Heat 96-92 (OT) to tie their Eastern Conference semifinal series at one win apiece.


Besides playing lockdown defense for nearly 40 minutes on the court, Carroll hit clutch shots during various junctures of the game as Raptors bounced back from the overtime loss in Game 1. Jonas  Valanciunas continued his stellar postseason run with anther double-double, finishing with 15 points, 12 rebounds, 3 steals, and block.

Toronto’s backcourt of Kyle Lowry (18 points, 6 assists, 3 steals) and DeMar DeRozan (20 points, 8 rebounds, 3 steals) continued to struggle, shooting a combined 16/46 from the field through the course of the game. Despite their shooting woes, they managed to outshine the Heat backcourt of Dwayne Wade (17 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assists) and Goran Dragic (20 points, 4 assists). |Final Box Score|

In fact, Lowry (3-6) and DeRozan (2-8) missed some clutch free throws – proving that they were stricken by the immense pressure that comes with the postseason. Lowry continued to shoot terribly from the 3-point range, going 1/7 from deep after a string of horrible performances in the playoffs.

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Raptors make late run…

At one stage, the Miami Heat looked comfortably positioned to take a 2-0 lead after leading 77-70 midway through the fourth quarter. Just then, Valanciunas made consecutive field goals to shave the deficit to 80-78 with 3:18 left before Terrence Ross’ jumper tied the game with 2:01 remaining.

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With 1:22 left in the game, DeRozan missed a pair of free throws but Toronto were saved by Valanciunas’ offensive rebound and put back to give the hosts an 82-80 lead. With 45 seconds left, Lowry hit a jump shot to give the Raptors a four-point lead.

With 10.5 seconds left, Dragic made a clutch three pointer to tie the game at 86 and send it into overtime. During the extra period, the Raptors played lockdown defense to keep Miami to just 6 points. Miami missed their first five shots in OT until Luol Deng made a field goal with 23 seconds left.

Miami, who matched a franchise postseason record of 11 turnovers in the first half, must rue all the missed opportunities to close out the game in the fourth quarter. Regardless, they would happy about stealing an away game before the series shifts to Miami for the next two games.

Raptors will have to steal either Game 3 or 4 to regain home advantage.