After a fight, Heat clings to the Raptors 112-109
MIAMI (AP) — A fight inspired Toronto, and the Raptors’ response forced the Miami Heat to work a little harder to secure their first win of the season.
Jimmy Butler scored 24 points, Max Strus added 20 off the bench, and the Heat outscored the Raptors 112-109 on Saturday night.
The teams will meet Monday night in Miami.
Miami’s Kyle Lowry had 17 points against his former club, Tyler Herro had 14 and Bam Adebayo added 10 for the Heat – who blew much of a 24-point lead before hanging on.
« When the result ends like this, I love all the emotions and experiences, » Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said.
Pascal Siakam and Gary Trent Jr. each scored 23 points for Toronto, which got 18 points and 11 rebounds from former Heat forward Precious Achiuwa. OG Anunoby scored 13 points and Scottie Barnes added 11 for Toronto.
The Heat saw a 24-point lead reduced to six early in the fourth, with Toronto on a huge spurt after a scuffle – which spilled into a row of base seats – appeared to inspire the Raptors.
Toronto’s Christian Koloko and Miami’s Caleb Martin were both ejected with 7:46 left in the third quarter. They were scrambling for a rebound on a missed 3-pointer by Siakam, and Martin was called for a foul. Koloko found himself on the ground and Martin walked towards him as the Raptors rookie quickly bounced to his feet.
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In a flash, they got tangled, with Martin appearing to lead Koloko into a row of seats that flipped over. Players from both teams quickly rushed to this spot, which was just a few yards in front of the Heat bench. Play was stopped for several minutes as referees surveyed play and crews used towels to clean the area.
« There were a lot of games before that, » Martin said. « It was a hot game. »
Said Koloko: « I just fought back and got kicked out. That’s what happened. »
Toronto coach Nick Nurse said he expects the NBA to further investigate what happened.
« A lot of people were into this thing that probably shouldn’t have been, » Nurse said.
Miami was leading 81-59 at the time; the Raptors outscored the Heat 17-2 over the next 5:11, and Toronto was not gone.
Siakam’s field goal with 1:04 left put Toronto up 109-103, but Lowry drove down the aisle and scored on the ensuing possession to help ensure Miami escaped.
Raptors: Chris Boucher and Otto Porter Jr. were both out with strained left hamstrings. Nurse expects Boucher to play on Monday. … Scottie Barnes was rocked twice in the first half; he hit his left shoulder first, then sprained his right ankle during the second quarter and was sent off. Further tests are expected and he is unlikely to play on Monday. … The first back-to-back of the season was not easy. Toronto lost to Brooklyn on Friday night, arrived in Miami around 2:45 a.m. Saturday, and hotel check-in was after 3 a.m.
Heat: Victor Oladipo (left knee) and Omer Yurtseven (left ankle) remained on the sidelines. Neither has played this season. … It was the second time Lowry had faced the Raptors since moving from Toronto to Miami. He played once in Toronto last season. … The Heat avoided what would have been their first 0-3 start since 2007-08.
Raptors guard Fred VanVleet had a strange first half: four fouls, zero points. Unsurprisingly, this was a first for him. He became the 12th player in Toronto history to post the dubious and unique stat. And then he got his fifth 20 seconds in the third quarter, fouling Lowry on a 3-point attempt.
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