NBA FINALS
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NBA Playoffs 2016

Toronto Raptors beat Miami Heat in overtime to tie play-off series after tense and bloody game two

Raptors win means the Heat must protect their home-court end of the bargain, with the next two games to be played at their AmericanAirlines Arena

PUBLISHED : Friday, 06 May, 2016, 11:55am
UPDATED : Friday, 06 May, 2016, 11:55am

How to best define the Heat’s 96-92 overtime loss to the Toronto Raptors on Thursday night at Air Canada Centre that left this best-of-seven Eastern Conference semi-final series tied 1-1?

We’ll leave that up to the Miami Heat’s official Twitter account, with this missive that was passed along at half-time:

“UPDATE: Goran Dragic received 3 stitches on the inside of his lip & 5 on the outside. Dragic’s bottom teeth went through lip during contact.”

That kind of night, ultimately as painful at the finish for the Heat as for their point guard.

Yes, home-court advantage was pilfered two nights earlier with an overtime victory, with the Heat nearly ransacking the advantage the Raptors had built by securing the No 2 seed in the Eastern Conference.

Instead, it’s now up to the Heat to protect their home-court end of the bargain, with the next two at AmericanAirlines Arena, starting on Saturday and then Monday.

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On a night of too many turnovers early, balanced scoring throughout, trademark grit, but not enough at the end, the Heat lacked the needed bite to close it out.

For the Heat, this was a night of anyone and everyone, with 20 points from Dragic, 17 from Joe Johnson, 17 from Dwyane Wade, 12 from Luol Deng and 13 from Hassan Whiteside, who also had 13 rebounds.

Guard DeMar DeRozan scored 20 points for the Raptors, with forward DeMarre contributing 21, guard Kyle Lowry 19 and centre Jonas Valanciunas 15, along with 12 rebounds.

With the victory, the Raptors forced a game five next Wednesday at Air Canada Centre, with a Pearl Jam concert scheduled for the building that night pushed back by one day.

Unlike the Heat’s game one overtime victory, this time it was the Raptors who set the tone in overtime, pushing to a 92-86 lead on baskets from DeRozan and Valanciunas, and then a pair of free throws from Carroll.

A Deng dunk with 23.5 seconds left got the Heat on the board in the extra period, but still left them down 92-88. A pair of Corey Joseph free throws extended the Raptors’ lead to 94-88 with 22.1 ticks left, with time eventually running out on the Heat on a night they held a seven-point lead after overcoming an earlier 14-point deficit.

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The Heat ran an initial look for Johnson but then wound up with a 3-pointer from Dragic with 10.5 seconds left in the fourth quarter close the scoring in regulation. Regulation ended on a missed jumper by Lowry.

The Raptors tied it at 80 with 2:01 to play in regulation on a 13-foot Terrance Ross jumper. Wade then was unable to draw a foul on a missed attempt on the other end.

That’s when DeRozan missed a pair of free throws only to have Valanciunas tip in the second for an 82-80 Toronto lead.

And then Lowry, 5 of 18 to that stage, stepped up with a 17-foot jumper for an 84-80 lead with 45.9 seconds to play in the fourth.

Wade, with his revitalised 3-point stoke, then stepped up from beyond the arc to lift the Heat to 4 of 16 on the night on 3-pointers, to draw the Heat within 84-83 with 37.9 seconds to play in regulation.

Toronto responded with a Lowry 17-foot jumper and an 86-83 lead with 14.9 seconds to play in the fourth.

That’s when Dragic made and Lowry missed to force overtime.