10 things from Raptors-Heat

Welcome to the 10 things recap by theScore features writer William Lou, which serves to highlight emerging trends from a Raptors perspective.

  1. Resilient: The Heat have always given the Raptors trouble with their relentlessly physical brand of play and tonight was no different. Toronto had to stay sharp and leave their starters in until the very end as Miami was always within striking distance despite trailing the whole night.

  2. Throwback: Dwyane Wade set a Heat record with 35 points off the bench to keep Miami competitive. Wade drilled four threes, bullied Delon Wright in the post, fooled OG Anunoby with his pump fake, created open shots for his bigs, and was generally unstoppable until the end.

  3. Dominant: Nick Nurse eventually relented and stuck Kawhi Leonard on Wade in the fourth quarter. Leonard forced Wade into an awkward airball and ripped the ball from the wily vet, which effectively killed the game. Leonard also added 29 points and 10 rebounds for yet another stellar two-way performance.

  4. Tempo: Kyle Lowry smartly identified that the Heat were aggressively attacking the offensive glass, so he threw ambitious hit-ahead passes at every available opportunity to hurt Miami in transition. Leonard, Anunoby, and Pascal Siakam all got easy buckets in the open court thanks to Lowry, who topped 10 assists for the 12th time in 20 games.

  5. Developing: Lowry and Leonard are slowly starting to learn each other's tendencies. Lowry has been trying to throw a pass over the top to Leonard in the post all season, and finally, Leonard had man sealed and scored off the assist. Lowry also fed Leonard on a quick repost that led to an assist, as well as another inbound play where Lowry found Leonard flashing to the restricted area, which drew a foul.

  6. Vocal: Leonard picked up his first technical in 422 career games after Tony Brothers missed an obvious call where Justise Winslow hacked Leonard across the arms as he went up for a layup. Leonard then took the podium after the game and rightfully defended himself from Gregg Popovich's out-of-nowhere criticism of his leadership.

  7. Physicality: Serge Ibaka has been phenomenal all season, but Bam Adebayo exposed his weakness by outmuscling and outworking Ibaka in the paint. Ibaka's positional play is strong and his finishing has been sharp all year, but he still struggles to contain high-energy bigs like Adebayo, who snagged 21 rebounds off the bench.

  8. Counter: Toronto's answer to bangers like Adebayo is to extend minutes for Jonas Valanciunas, who earned a giant scratch across his face in exchange for battling in the paint. Valanciunas lives to battle brutes, and it's the one scenario where his defensive skill set can be effective.

  9. Efficiency: Pascal Siakam rebounded from a relatively quiet night against the Wizards by scoring 21 points on 8-of-9 shooting. His 3-point stroke has been solid for the past two weeks - he's 9 for his last 18 - and he continues to show a hunger for the ball.

  10. Mob: The bench is quietly coming back to life now that CJ Miles and OG Anunoby are back in the lineup. Miles drilled two threes, Wright pulled up in Wade's face twice, and Fred VanVleet got back to being steady as opposed to dribbling out the clock in search of his own shot.

10 things from Raptors-Heat
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