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Toronto Raptors

Eight observations from the Toronto Raptors gritty victory of the Miami Heat

A sloppy start and a tight finish, but the Toronto Raptors made it two in a row in the Orlando bubble, holding off the Miami Heat 107-103.

Here are eight observations from the Raptors' second bubble victory.

1. Pascal heard y'all

Pascal Siakam heard all the chatter coming into Monday's game about how Bam Adebayo shut him down in the last matchup between these two teams.

According to NBA Stats, Adebayo guarded Siakam for 31.2 partial possessions holding him to just two points and forcing him into two turnovers. With Adebayo guarding him in the last meeting Siakam looked passive, but on Monday night Spicy P came out to remind everyone he to was an All-Star this season.

Siakam started the game going 5-for-7 from the field for 13 first-quarter points. Once the Heat decided to key in on him he turned into a facilitator drawing the extra defender and forced Miami to go into scramble mode.

Adebayo got the best of Siakam for a couple of possessions in the third quarter, but Siakam showed that he learned from the past game against the Heat. A positive sign for Raptors' fans should these two teams meet in the playoffs.

2. Serge is finding ways to score without his 3

After struggling with foul trouble in Saturday's game against the Lakers, Serge Ibaka bounced back with a nice game finishing with 15 points and 6 rebounds.

Ibaka still hasn't found the touch from three range yet in the first two games, but instead of settling for the three, he's found ways to score in the midrange.

Coming into the game, Ibaka was shooting 39.3 percent from 3-point range, so we can expect him to find the touch eventually. Again, Ibaka finding ways to contribute despite not hitting the long ball is a positive for the Raptors.

3. Career-high for Steady Freddy

Fred VanVleet, on the other hand, has no problem with his touch from deep.

Steady Freddy finished with a career-high 36 points, five rebounds and four assists shooting 58.3 percent from three. The offence will get a ton of praise and it should as VanVleet was terrific on that end, but don't sleep on his defence.

VanVleet came up with a key deflection late in the game to help the Raptors secure the win.

Coming into the game, VanVleet was leading the league in deflections per game at 4.2. He's in the top five in defensive loose balls recovered per game. VanVleet is making every effort to secure the bag this offseason.

4. CanCon from Kelly Olynk

After going off in the fourth quarter against the Denver Nuggets, Kelly Olynyk remained in rhythm on Monday finishing the game with 17 points, four boards, knocking down four trifectas in the loss.

Olynyk gave the Heat a spark when they were struggling to find it early on and his heady play offensively opened up opportunities out of thin air when the Raptors' defence was swarming.

Olynyk has a player option for $12 million next season, it will be interesting to see if he decided to remain in Miami or if he fields offers for a longer-term deal somewhere else.

5. Turnover party...too many people invited

The Raptors were sloppy with the ball through large stretches of the game especially in the second period where they committed nine of their 20 turnovers.

Toronto played two of the more physical teams to start in Orlando in the Lakers and the Heat and racked up 34 turnovers in the two outings. They were able to escape with two victories but being more responsible with the rock has to be something Nurse and the staff preach ahead of their next game against the Orlando Magic.

6. Swarming the 3-point line

The Heat are the best 3-point shooting team in the league and the Raptors are the best team at defending the 3-point line. Defence won out on Monday as good defence shut down great 3-point shooting.

Toronto held Miami to 31.1 percent from deep. They chased shooters off their spots and made life difficult all game long.

Duncan Robinson one of the best 3-point shooters in the league couldn't find any daylight to even get a look off. He took a total of five shots and went 1-for-4 from deep. Toronto exposed the fact that he hasn't yet developed much of an offensive repertoire outside of shooting.

Credit Nick Nurse's gameplan, maybe the coach might want to re-think their votes for Coach of the Year?

7. Move over MJ, Kyle Lowry is here

Shout-out to Kyle Lowry who passed Michael Jordan on the all-time career assists list. Lowry's five dimes in Monday's win give him 5,634 on his career. He now sits in 45th place all-time with former Raptor Chauncey Billups just two ahead of him in the 44th spot.

Lowry has a real chance at passing Hall of Famers, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Larry Bird and future Hall of Famer Dwyane Wade before we get to the postseason.

8. Return of the Dragon

Goran Dragic has had a nice bounce-back year after dealing with injuries last year. In his newfound reserve role, Dragic is averaging 16.0 points, 5.1 assists shooting 37.3 percent from three.

On Monday he showed why having him as a sixth man is a luxury as he completely changed the momentum of the game and got the Heat back in it after it looked like the Raptors would blow the doors off of them.

Dragic finished with a team-high 25 points, five rebounds, five assists shooting 64.3 percent from the field.

The sixth man of the year race is extremely tough this year, but any other year Dragic would be in the conversation for the award.

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