So let's be honest no one really expected the Raptors to win today. That being said they sure gave an effort to try and make you believe they could. It started out looking like the game many expected. The Raptors would score first but then the Heat would rail off 8 straight points. But the Raptors fought back and took the lead. This would be a theme that would continue through out the day. The Heat proved they were the better team with what was at best a B- effort for them. That might even be kind. Who had an A+ effort, and it started from the first quarter, was Demar DeRozan and it continued to the very end of the game tipping a long pass in the late stages off Dwyane Wade. At first it looked like it was going to be a long day. DeRozan was matched up with Lebron James on defence. Lebron scored easily on first few trips matched up with him. But Demar was attacking with purpose today. He had 11 points in the first Quarter and had an unbelievable jam in the 2nd, as he drove down the heart of the lane past 4 Heat players. He had, when it was all said and done 25 points on 8-16, 9-11 at the line and had 3 rebounds, 3 assists and a couple steals. In the end Lebron James was better than that with 30 points going 10-17 and had 9 rebounds and 2 assists. Those stat lines kind of mirrored the game as whole.
The Heat each time they would start to look to pull away the Raptors would find a way to fight back. The Raptors were just down 53-48 at the half time break. In some ways they were playing a far better game than there demolition of the Wizards on Friday night at home. But the Heat are not the Wizards. Things really took a turn for the worse when James Johnson turned his ankle. The Raptors best defender was forced to take a seat and it seemed like the Raptors had a good 32 minutes but the blowout was on. The Heat's lead started to grow and grow, while the Raptors offence for the first time in the game had skids at the worst time. Johnson would comeback later in the game. His status tomorrow in Washington will be important news for the Raptors. So as you probably started to make your plans for the Super Bowl the Raptors once again had a run in them. They would get as close as 3 points down in the late stages. But the Heat were just to much and to good for the Raptors to complete the miracle upset. Miami takes this one by just 6 points winning 95-89.
What was interesting was for most of this game it was an up and down the floor affair that was very entertaining. But it sure didn't seem like a style that was going to be one the Raptors could hang in the game with. But hang they did and if you believe in moral victories the Raptors got one today. But more importantly will be what they do with back to back solid performances. A re-match with a Wizards a team that was resting today kicking back on Super Bowl Sunday, should prove to be not so easy. It is safe to say the Wizards will be looking to get some pay back for a terrible performance by them in Toronto on Friday. It is vital for Demar DeRozan that we see something similar from him tomorrow. This was in my view his best performance of the season. But the NBA is a what have you done for me lately business. So it will be all about what he can do for an encore. Jerryd Bayless and Linas Kleiza were of help today as both had 17 points. If you want to look at an example of what we can't see from Demar look at Amir Johnson today. After a breakout performance he was not much of a factor today with 2 points and just 6 rebounds.
Another thing that stuck me was how little Chris Bosh stuck out for me in this game. He struggled going 3-13 with 12 points and 8 rebounds. But it wasn't just that. I just never cared to notice him. There has never been a game when Vince Carter or Tracy McGrady has played against the Raptors home or away that I was not fully aware of them at all times. Bosh today blended into the scenery. I am not sure what that says about him or me, there is just not that fire and anger in terms of Bosh. On March 30th in Toronto that might change for folks. But I am not really sure if Bosh will ever be on that level for folks in Toronto. Time will tell for a lot of things. But in the here and now looking at just this game you had to be pleased with the Raptors effort against one of the best teams in the NBA, if not the best.