Heat Flex in Fourth Quarter to Outlast Raptors, 104-95

Through three quarters the Raptors dangled within striking distance of the two time defending NBA champs. Toronto raced out to an early lead by employing a size advantage down low - most prominently on the glass,  snatching 11 offensive boards in the first half. Miami kept pace with disciplined execution and ball movement, routinely leading to easy looks in the paint or open 3-point shots, registering 49% from the field overall and 10-23 from deep. The two teams traded buckets for most of the night.

But with the deficit at just four points heading into the final frame, the Raptors were looking to prolong Miami's winless record on the road. The Heat, however, after dropping their first two road contests, weren't going to let another one slip away. And so, they clamped down, defensively, holding their opponents to just 3 field goals and forcing 9 turnovers in the fourth quarter. Lebron James finished with 35 points, 8 boards and 8 assists, while Dwyane Wade and Ray Allen chipped in 20 and 14, respectively. Miami's other all-star, Chris Bosh, did not return to the ACC, instead remaining in Miami to welcome his newborn daughter. 

The Raptors were led by Demar Derozan's 21 points, and Jonas Valanciunas, who posted 18 points and 9 boards. 

Bench boss, Dwayne Casey, opted to match the Heat's vaunted small ball lineup in the second half, despite the success of big men, Amir Johnson and Jonas Valanciunas. The pair combined for 19 points and 10 rebounds - 5 offensive - in the first half. Johnson only saw 12 minutes of floor time in second half, zero in the final Q, while Valanciunas only logged 10 minutes. 

Rudy Gay continued to struggle from the field - shooting 3-10 - and battle on the boards. After collecting 15 rebounds in Milwaukee Saturday night, Gay clutched another 10 for his second double double in as many outings,

Once again, the Raptors failed to generate consistent ball movement, tallying just 15 assists. Miami countered with 31. Which was the major reason the Heat come out on top 104-95 at the ACC.

Toronto will look to get back into the win column tomorrow night In Charlotte where they will face the Bobcats. The Bobcats defeated the Knicks 102-97 Tuesday night. 

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