What was expected to happen happened Sunday.
The Heat entered its matchup against the Raptors as a big 12-point underdog and couldn’t disprove that one-sided prediction wrong. Toronto cruised to a 125-115 win over Miami (7-12) at Scotiabank Arena, adding another win to its league-best 17-4 record.
Meanwhile, it was the Heat’s 10th loss in its past 14 games. Miami has now won just one of its past eight regular-season games played in Toronto.
The Raptors led by as many as 26 points, and the Heat made a second-half push to pull within eight with 6:43 to play. But that’s the closet Miami got.
Premium content for only $0.99
For the most comprehensive local coverage, subscribe today.
There’s not much that goes right in a 10-point loss, but there were a few things that went right for the Heat on Sunday.
No. 1 was Dwyane Wade. The 36-year-old turned in his best performance of the season, finishing with a season-high 35 points on 13-of-22 shooting from the field and 4-of-7 shooting from three-point range. It marked the most points scored by a Heat bench player in a single game in franchise history.
Wade led a Heat bench that combined for 71 points. Reserve big man Bam Adebayo contributed to those numbers with 16 points and a career-high 21 rebounds.
No. 2 Miami, which entered averaging the fourth-most turnovers in the league at 16.4 per game, finished with a season-low seven turnovers. The Heat played a turnover-free first half, marking the first time in franchise history that Miami has finished with zero turnovers in a single half.
But all of that wasn’t enough to overcome the Raptors’ dominance. Toronto had very little trouble against Miami’s defense, scoring 125 on 52.2 percent shooting.
Kawhi Leonard played his usual role of leading man for the Raptors, finishing with 29 points and 10 rebounds..
Without guards Goran Dragic (right knee), Tyler Johnson (strained right hamstring) and Dion Waiters (left ankle surgery), the Heat struggled to find efficient offense. Miami shot 41.1 percent from the field.
The Heat now heads home to start a four-game homestand Tuesday against the Hawks.
Spo talks Kawhi
Include the Heat on the list of those impressed by what Leonard has been able to accomplish in his first season with the Raptors.
After spending the first seven seasons of his NBA career with the Spurs, Leonard was traded to Toronto this past summer. The two-time All-Star has fit right in even after a quad injury forced him to miss most of last season, as the Raptors have emerged as the Eastern Conference’s best team.
“For a guy that’s been out for a year, I don’t think the average fan has any idea how difficult that is to come in and look like you haven’t missed a beat,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. “Then to do it — on top of that— with a new team, there’s usually an adjustment period either way when you’ve been out because of injury or when you change franchises. He took both those on and it looks like he’s been with them for a long time.”
Getting Olynyk back on track
Kelly Olynyk’s numbers are down across the board this season. After averaging career-highs in points (11.5), rebounds (5.7) and assists (2.7) in his first year with the Heat last season, he was averaging 7.9 points, 3.4 rebounds and 2.0 assists entering Sunday’s game against the Raptors.
“He had a career-best year last year,” Spoelstra said. “We’re trying to get him back to playing at a high level because we’re a totally different team. We saw it the last couple games, how our versatility really comes out with [James Johnson]. He unlocks so much of the versatility of our roster.”