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Raptors edge Heat in OT; series tied

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The Toronto Raptors overcame a seven-point fourth quarter deficit and went on to beat the Miami Heat, 96-92 in overtime on Thursday night in Toronto. With the win, the Raptors evened the best-of-seven Eastern Conference semi-final series at one game apiece.

Things looked bleak for Toronto, but center Jonas Valanciunas came alive in the fourth quarter, scoring nine of his 15 points. Until the final period, he had attempted only three shots the entire game.

The Raptors sought to erase the disappointment of Tuesday night’s loss in Game 1. After falling behind by six points early, Toronto raced to a 12-point lead and ended the first period on top, 29-19.

Terrance Ross gave the Raptors their largest lead, 33-19, on a jumper with 10:49 remaining in the half. They led at halftime, 48-41.

DeMar DeRozan made a five-footer to give Toronto a 61-52 lead with 5:28 remaining in the third period. The Heat closed the quarter on a 13-2 run to take a 65-63 lead heading into the fourth quarter.

Valanciunas scored from close range to give Toronto the lead at 70-69 with 8:42 remaining, but Miami scored eight straight points to seemingly take control. Toronto got back even at 80 with two minutes remaining.

After Kyle Lowry hit some big shots down the stretch, Miami’s Goran Dragic hit a three-pointer with 10 seconds remaining to send the game into overtime. Wade set up Dragic by making his fourth consecutive three-pointer in the playoffs after going nearly four months without making one.

In the extra period, it was all Toronto as Miami went scoreless in the overtime period until only 23 seconds remained. It was too late to recover.

Toronto’s guard combination of Lowry and DeRozan combined to score 38 points, but shot only 16 of 46 from the field. Valanciunas hauled in 12 rebounds while DeMarre Carroll contributed 21 points.

Miami, who committed 21 turnovers, was led by Dragic’s 20 points. Wade and Joe Johnson added 17 each.

The series shifts to Miami for the next two games. Game 3 is set for Saturday at American Airlines Arena.

 

Bob Sparks is President of Ramos and Sparks Group, a Tallahassee-based business and political consulting firm. During his career, he has directed media relations and managed events for professional baseball, served as chief spokesperson for the Republican Party of Florida as well as the Florida Department of Environmental Protection and the Attorney General of Florida. After serving as Executive Deputy Chief of Staff for Governor Charlie Crist, he returned to the private sector working with clients including the Republican National Committee and political candidates in Japan. He lives in Tallahassee with his wife, Sue and can be reached at Bob@ramos-sparks.com.

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