EditorsNote: 1st graf, change ‘its’ to ‘their’; 11th graf, fix spelling of Justise; changing three-pointer to 3-pointer numerous places
Rookie Tyler Herro scored 11 straight second-half points as the Miami Heat continued their hot streak at home, defeating the Toronto Raptors 84-76 on Thursday night.
Miami has the best home record in the NBA at 16-1.
However, the game between two of the top Eastern Conference’s teams was marked by intense defense and inaccurate shooting.
Toronto shot a season-low 31.5 percent, including 6 of 42 on 3-pointers (14.3 percent).
Miami shot just 40.7 percent, including 12 of 37 on 3-pointers (32.4 percent).
Bam Adebayo led Miami with 15 points and 14 rebounds. Herro and Goran Dragic had 13 points each.
Jimmy Butler, who is Miami’s biggest star, missed eight of 10 shots from the field, but he contributed 12 rebounds, eight points and seven assists.
Heat guard Kendrick Nunn, who on Thursday was named the Eastern Conference’s Rookie of the Month, added seven points and nine assists. He is the first undrafted player to win that award multiple times, having also claimed it in November.
Toronto was led by Serge Ibaka (19 points, 10 rebounds) and Kyle Lowry (15 points, eight assists).
But the Raptors were missing three starters: center Marc Gasol (left hamstring), forward Pascal Siakam (groin) and shooting guard Norman Powell (left shoulder). All three were injured in a Dec. 18 win at the Detroit Pistons.
The Heat were missing point forward Justise Winslow (back).
Miami led for all but the final 84 seconds in the first quarter, when Toronto surged for a 20-18 advantage.
There were three lead changes in the second quarter before Miami seized control and went into halftime with a 42-39 lead.
Miami, which got 13 first-half points from Dragic, shot 41.5 percent during that span, including 6 of 15 on 3-pointers.
Toronto, backed by 12 points each from Lowry and Ibaka, shot 31.1 percent, including 3 of 22 on 3-pointers (13.6 percent).
The teams played to a standstill in the third quarter as Miami held on to its three-point lead (63-60).
Miami went on an 11-4 run between the end of the third and the start of the fourth — and all 11 of those points were scored on Herro jumpers. That ignited Miami to a dominant fourth quarter and the win.
—Field Level Media