After suffering a close loss to the Hornets Saturday, the Raptors were on the right side of a close decision as they earned an eight-point win over the Miami Heat in overtime Sunday night.
Led by 23 points from both Norman Powell and Pascal Siakam, four different Raptors players finished the game with over 20 points. Despite shooting 7-for-19 from the field, Kawhi Leonard finished with 22 points while Danny Green continued his recent hot streak, scoring 21 points while shooting 5-for-9 from beyond the arc.
In 33 minutes of action, Marc Gasol was a plus-23 in the box score as he scored eight points, grabbed 10 rebounds and dished out a game-high seven assists.
Dwyane Wade led the way for Miami with 21 points while James Johnson (18 points), Dion Waiters (17 points), Justise Winslow (15 points) and Hassan Whiteside (14 points) each finished in double figures as well.
Here are some takeaways from tonight's overtime thriller…
From the onset, it became evident that each team's reserves would play a major role in dictating the outcome of the game.
As it features more than five starting-calibre players, Miami has one of the more unique rosters in the league; its bench features the likes of James Johnson, Dwyane Wade and Hassan Whiteside.
After one quarter, this second unit had outscored the Raptors reserves 11-0 and the Heat led by one.
By the half, the advantage was 28-18 Miami, meaning 18 of Toronto's 25 second-quarter points came from the bench. Norman Powell fueled the Raptors in the second frame, scoring 11 points on 4-for-4 shooting from the field but they trailed by seven entering the break.
At the end of the night, the scoring difference was 55-38, advantage Heat. It was deeper than offence, though.
Serge Ibaka grabbed five rebounds, blocked three shots and altered many more, while Fred VanVleet, OG Anunoby and Norman Powell each grabbed a steal.
SERGE I-BLOCK-A! 🚫#WeTheNorth pic.twitter.com/zHaWE0aCrl- NBA Canada (@NBACanada) April 7, 2019
As far as the offence goes, Powell sustained his stellar play from the second quarter throughout the game, which is worthy of a takeaway of its own…
As alluded to before, Powell didn't stop in the second quarter.
The fourth-year guard paced the team's offence, tying his season-best scoring effort with 23 points to lead the Raptors along with Siakam.
Beyond his scoring, it was Powell's efficiency from the field, as he shot a perfect 7-for-7 from the field including 4-for-4 from beyond the arc. Though he didn't play at all in the overtime period, Powell scored nine points in the fourth quarter, a big reason the game could go into an extra frame.
As the postseason begins next weekend, the Raptors would benefit greatly from Powell sustaining this type of play. While it shouldn't be expected that he continues to turn in 20-plus points on perfect shooting, Powell being a viable scoring option off the bench adds another dimension to this team,
D. Wade's Last Dance in Toronto
For the 25th and likely final time, 13-time All-Star and three-time NBA champion Dwyane Wade took the floor at Scotiabank Arena.
.@DwyaneWade receives a standing-O as he checks in vs. the @Raptors!#HeatCulture | #OneLastDance pic.twitter.com/VRQM1z4Qx8- NBA Canada (@NBACanada) April 7, 2019
The 37-year-old continues to show he has plenty left in the tank as he finished the game with a team-high 21 points on 50 percent shooting (7-for-14) from the field including four 3-pointers.
In a game with added importance for his team, Wade answered the call as he has done throughout his 16-year career. Down the stretch of the fourth quarter and in overtime, he knocked down a number of difficult shots and had the ball in his hands in the game's most crucial moments.
Like many games on his farewell tour, there were plenty of emotions after, especially given today's impact on …
Miami's playoff hopes
If it appeared that the Heat approached the game with a heightened sense of urgency, it's because they did.
Miami entered the night one game out of the East's final playoff spot, needing a win and some help elsewhere to keep its hopes alive and re-enter the playoff picture. It's the second straight opponent the Raptors have faced in such a predicament, as Saturday's game was a must-win for the Hornets.
Facing a desperate team is excellent preparation ahead of the playoffs, as there is a playoff-like intensity and in today's case, the atmosphere in Scotiabank Arena.
With the loss, the Heat fall to 38-42 on the season and would be eliminated from playoff contention if both the Pistons and Nets earn wins Monday.