Wade’s spectacular shooting carries Heat to sixth straight win
Miami, FL (Sports Network) – Dwyane Wade led all scorers with 32 points, on
15-of-19 from the field,, as Miami defeated the Toronto Raptors, 101-94,
extending its winning streak to a season-high six games.
Shaquille O’Neal scored 27 points and grabbed 11 boards, and Antoine Walker
chipped in 11 points and eight rebounds off the bench for the Heat, who have
won 11 of their last 13.
“We had a great fourth quarter defensively,” said Heat head coach Pat Riley.
“We did not get into foul trouble early and made some really big defensive
plays. They shot the ball extremely well tonight. We were down going into the
fourth quarter and really raised the level of our defense.”
Mike James led the Raptors with 26 points, while Morris Peterson and Chris
Bosh both tallied 19 points for Toronto, which has lost four straight
following a three-game win streak.
“Some of our guys are playing without confidence and are playing tentative,”
said Raptors head coach Sam Mitchell. “I don’t care if they make a mistake,
but if you’re tentative, that’s when you make mistakes.”
The loss comes on the heels of reports that the Raptors will name Bryan
Colangelo their new president and general manager. Colangelo resigned from
those positions with the Phoenix Suns on Monday.
Toronto took a three-point lead into the final frame, 77-74, but Miami scored
11 of the first 16 points of the fourth to grab the advantage. Gary Payton’s
three-pointer with 8:37 left moved the Heat into the lead for good at 85-82.
The Raptors then got within a point three times, the last at 90-89 on a Bosh
jumper with 6:05 remaining. However, O’Neal had the next four points,
including a dunk, and when Wade picked off a Mike James pass and took it the
other way for a reverse dunk, Miami stretched its lead to, 98-91.
A James layup with 1:26 to go pulled the Raptors to within six, 100-94.
However, with 29.8 seconds to play, the Raptors’ fate was sealed when James
threw an errant pass out of bounds.
With Toronto leading 16-15 in the first quarter, Peterson hit a three-pointer
to spark a 15-6 run to close out the opening stanza and give his team a 31-21
advantage after 12 minutes.
Miami responded in the second quarter with a 16-2 spurt. The run was capped
when O’Neal followed a Jason Williams missed layup with a big dunk, giving the
Heat a four point lead, 45-41. They would lead 53-49 at the half.
Miami shot a season-high 60.3 percent from the floor. The Heat won the game
despite a horrendous effort from the free-throw line, where they shot 40
percent (10-25). O’Neal was 5-of-15.
The Raptors fired general manager Rob Babcock on January 26. Babcock was
relieved of his duties in just the second year of his contract…..Antonio
Davis left the game with a strained back and did not return for the
Raptors…Miami is a season-best 16 games over .500…Wade’s 15 field goals
were a season-high…Charlie Villanueva posted 16 points and 11 rebounds for
Toronto, which has lost 15 of its last 19 at Miami.