Raptors stunned by last-second loss to the Heat


Wayne Ellington’s last-second layup brings the Toronto Raptors crashing back down to earth, ending their attempt to set a new franchise record for consecutive home wins.

Even without Kyle Lowry, the Toronto Raptors looked all set to win their sixth straight game and improve their record to a franchise-best 29-10 through 39 games. They had overcome a 10-point deficit at the half and DeMar DeRozan had given them the lead with 3.1 second remaining in the game.

Unfortunately for the Raptors, Wayne Ellington and the Miami Heat had other ideas. Aided by a blown assignment on defense, Ellington got the go-ahead basket with less than a second to go, and the Heat came away with a stunning 90-89 win.

In the process, the Raptors missed out on the opportunity to set a new franchise record for consecutive home wins. The streak was stopped at 12, as they fell to 14-2 on the season at the Air Canada Centre.

In fairness to the Heat, they arguably deserved the victory. In many respects, the Raptors played poorly, albeit not helped by the absence of Lowry.

DeRozan discussed his teammate’s absence with the media after the game. As reported by the Canadian Press via Sportsnet, he said:

"“The whole game is completely different without Kyle. You could kind of tell with our ball movement, it wasn’t all the way there like it normally would be with Kyle out there. He’s the general on the floor, he sees things when they need to be called.”"

Perhaps realising it sounded like he was attempting to justify the defeat, the three-time All-Star quickly added: “That’s no excuse. We still fought hard, we still had our opportunity. We lost it by one”

And DeRozan was a big part of the reason the Toronto Raptors even had a chance to win on Tuesday night. He finished the evening with game-highs of 25 points and six assists.

Delon Wright recently had a breakout night for the Raptors against the Chicago Bulls, setting career-highs of 25 points and 13 rebounds. As such, it was hoped he would be up to the challenge of replacing Lowry in the starting lineup against the Heat.

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Certainly Wright had his moments, producing 13 points, seven boards and four dimes. However, the drop off from Lowry was clear to see.

In this respect, the Toronto Raptors will be hoping their three-time All-Star point guard is back for the crucial clash with the Cleveland Cavaliers. Apart from what he brings to the team, they may well now be without another one of their starters for the game on Thursday night.

That’s because Serge Ibaka was ejected in the third quarter, after getting into a fight with James Johnson, who also used to play for the Raptors. Punches were definitely thrown and you imagine the NBA will suspend Ibaka, with the Cavaliers being the beneficiaries.

All in all, a tough night for the Raptors and their fans, perhaps best summed up by coach Dwane Casey who, as reported by the Toronto Star‘s Doug Smith, said: “We dug ourselves a hole, shot ourselves in the foot.”

Next: How a Lowry trade would have changed everything

What was your main takeaway from Tuesday night’s game? Were the Toronto Raptors unfortunate to lose? Or did the Heat deserve the win, after the effort they put in? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.