Cue the obligatory big Miami Heat built through the first two quarters.
Cue the obligatory Miami Heat collapse that results in an inferior opponent gaining momentum and either taking the lead or getting close.
Cue the obligatory Miami Heat staunch defensive effort in the final minutes that humbles professional basketball players to the point of consistently taking low-percentage shots.
Same narrative, different day for the Heat, now winners of their past 22 after a 108-91 victory over the Toronto Raptors. The win now moves the Heat to 3-0 on this road trip, with a game against the Boston Celtics remaining Monday night.
The winning streak ties the 2007-’08 Houston Rockets for second place all-time for most consecutive wins.
Dwyane Wade led Heat scorers with 24 points on 15 shots to accompany nine assists. He has now scored at least 20 points in 13 consecutive games, a season-high. LeBron James was there in support with 22 points, 12 rebounds, eight assists and two steals.
Ray Allen was the hero of the night. After the Raptors converted a 16-point Heat lead into a 77-all tie with 11:08 remaining in the contest, it was the Heat’s famed three-point shooter who kicked it into gear with four three-pointers in the final frame.
Allen finished with 20 on the night, 16 coming in the fourth. He had three of his three-pointers in the span of one minute and 28 seconds.
The Heat shot 10-of-22 from beyond the arc, with Allen, James, Chris Bosh and Shane Battier each hitting at least two. The Raptors missed 18 of their 20 three-point attempts.
Miami forced a combined 0-of-19 shooting from the field between point guards Kyle Lowry, Sebastian Telfair and John Lucas III, as well as swingman Alan Anderson. Those four also combined to miss all 11 of their three-pointers.
Rudy Gay hit the only Raptors’ three-pointers on the night.
Miami outscored Toronto 31-14 over the final 11 minutes. It turned out that Rudy Gay’s ability to hit low-percentage jumpers wasn’t sustainable. Much akin to the Heat’s first win in Toronto that started the streak, Gay wasn’t able to transfer that shooting ability for the entirety of 48 minutes.
Gay led all scorers with 27 points, but scored only two points, coming on free throws, in a fourth quarter where he shot 0-of-4.
The Raptors were outplayed at just about every facet of the game, but were able to stay in it, and eventually tie the game, with offensive rebounds.
Only a few nights after the Heat allowed 19 offensive rebounds to the Milwaukee Bucks, the Raptors were gifted a staggering 24 offensive rebounds and ended up outscoring the Heat 62-36 in the paint.
Miami only had two offensive rebounds, but that could be attributed to their stellar 58 percent shooting from the field. However, there is no excuse for getting outrebounded 24-2 on the offensive glass and 51-26 overall.
Amir Johnson alone finished with 18 rebounds, eight coming off the offensive glass. Chris Bosh, who finished with 18 points on 10 shots, had only two boards, while Udonis Haslem finished with one in 18 minutes.
Bosh was at least able to wreak havoc upon rookie Jonas Valanciunas, who provided no answers for the former Raptors’ perimeter game.
LeBron James was the only Heat player with more than three rebounds. Dwyane Wade was the only other player outside of James to have at least three rebounds. Everyone else had two or less, including Chris Andersen who only had one carom in 15 minutes.
It didn’t matter. None of that has mattered on this streak. The Raptors stayed in this game solely because of their activity on the offensive boards and it didn’t make a lick of a difference in the end.
When the Heat want to win, they usually end up winning. There has yet to be an opponent this year that has been able to score on Miami’s elite clutch defense, and that wasn’t about to change with the Raptors today.
You can only survive off of offensive rebounds and contested mid-range jumpers for so long.
The Heat move on to their final stop of this road trip where they will take on the Boston Celtics. The Celtics won the previous meeting 100-98 at home in overtime, but Miami won the first meeting 120-107 in the season-opener.
Kevin Garnett is currently listed as “50-50”.