(The Sports Xchange) - Dwyane Wade was a surprise starter for the injury-depleted Miami Heat on Friday. He was declared out for the game leading up to it because of a sore shoulder but after taking the warmup was deemed ready to play and scored 22 points.
That was not enough to stop the surging Toronto Raptors, however.
With guard DeMar DeRozan scoring 33 points, the Raptors extended their season-best winning streak to seven games on Friday in their 101-81 victory over the Heat.
“Everybody wants to be out there for the other guys,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. “Guys are playing through a lot right now. Everybody understands that we need whoever we can get out there. We just want to make sure Dwyane is not taking steps back but he had a great day of rest and therapy (Thursday), the whole shoot around and afterwards he worked on it. And all afternoon he got some more treatment and felt like he could give it a go.”
As well as Wade played, the night again belonged to DeRozan. It was the third straight game that DeRozan scored 30 or more points and the second time in his career that he has accomplished that.
“The game is coming slow to him,” Raptors coach Dwane Casey said. “He’s now shooting the 3-ball and the teams are going to run out to him now. He’s got an opportunity to get into the paint. He got four 3s up, he went 4-for-5, so again that’s another evolution of his game that he’s getting into.”
“It felt good, I just decided to shoot them tonight,” DeRozan said. “If it’s there, I’ll shoot it. I‘m not going to come out like a Ray Allen or anything but if it’s there I‘m going to take it.”
Guard Kyle Lowry added 15 points, forward Terrence Ross 13 off the bench and forward Luis Scola 12 for Toronto. Center Jonas Valanciunas had 13 rebounds and nine points.
Forward Chris Bosh led the Heat with 26 points and forward Justise Winslow contributed nine points and eight rebounds.
Wade said the injured players want to get back into the lineup but they also have to be careful not to rush back.
“That’s the toughest thing is players, one, you want to be out there competing,” Wade said. “And, two, you see you’re brothers struggling out there and going through this you want to get out there and, three, you never want anybody to come out there and go right back out. So it’s always a tough position to be in.”
The Raptors (28-15) had not won seven games in a row since March 22-April 9, 2002, on their way to a franchise-record nine-game winning streak.
It was the fourth loss in a row for the Heat (23-21).
The Raptors led by as many as 20 points in the third quarter before the Heat cut the lead to nine in the fourth quarter.
“They had very good confidence shooting the ball,” Bosh said. “They must have had a really had a good talk or something before the game because everybody was shooting. For us defensively and offensively we didn’t execute in anything. It’s really disappointing. Because we’ve got to the point where we should be able to execute simple things and we’re not doing that at all. We’re close but far at the same time.”
DeRozan scored 15 points in the first quarter to pace the Raptors to a 31-20 lead.
Scola hit a 3-point shot beat the buzzer with a 3-pointer from the corner for a 60-44 Toronto lead at halftime.
The Toronto lead reached 20 points when Scola hit two free throws with 6:57 left in the third quarter.
The Heat cut the lead to 11 with 2:27 to play in the third quarter, which ended with the Raptors leading 80-67.
Bosh made a layup with 4:07 to play to cut the margin to nine points, but Toronto forward Patrick Patterson responded with a 3-pointer.
With 2:53 left, Bosh made two of three free throws to reduce Miami’s deficit to 10. Valanciunas answered with a layup and Lowry scored on a layup and added the free throw to boost the Raptors’ lead back to 15. DeRozan’s 3-pointer put Toronto up by 18 points.
“We’re just out there playing with confidence,” Lowry said. “We’re sticking with our principles. We’re maintaining our principles and we’re maintaining our composure.”
Editing by Peter Rutherford