Raptors’ 3-game win streak snapped by short-handed Heat

Kendrick Nunn poured in 28 points and the short-handed Miami Heat beat Toronto 111-102 to end the Raptors’ three-game winning streak on Wednesday.

Fred VanVleet had 24 points and nine assists to top the Raptors (5-9), while Pascal Siakam and OG Anunoby had 18 points apiece. Terence Davis scored 16 points off the bench.

Canadian Kelly Olynyk had 15 points for the Heat (6-7), who were missing Jimmy Butler and Avery Bradley do to health and safety protocols around COVID-19.

The Raptors were coming off a 116-93 victory over the Dallas Mavericks, their best performance this season and a hopeful sign they’d turned a corner on their early troubles.

But on Wednesday, they trailed the Heat by 11 in the first half of a back-and-forth game that saw 11 lead changes through the first three quarters.

The Heat led 88-83 to start the fourth. Chris Boucher’s cutting layup cut the difference to three points early in the quarter, but Miami replied with an 8-0 run capped by a fadeaway bucket from Bam Adebayo that had the Heat back up by 11 with 6:58 to play.

WATCH | CBC Sports’ Vivek Jacob breaks down Raptors’ outlook:

After a rough start to the season, could the Raptors finally be finding their footing? Vivek Jacob takes a look at the next 5 games and what they mean for the season. 2:58

Siakam’s jumper with 5:17 to play ended an almost six-minute stretch without a basket for the Raptors. VanVleet’s three less than a minute later slashed the difference to nine points. But the Raptors couldn’t maintain any momentum, and back-to-back three-pointers by Goran Dragic and Andre Iguodala had Miami back up by 15 points.

Davis, who connected on all four of his three-point attempts, scored from distance with 1:27 to play to make it a 10-point game, but the Raptors never threatened over the dying seconds.

Toronto’s sluggish finish has been a worrisome trend this season for a team that was once one of the league’s best teams down the stretch.

Kyle Lowry scored Toronto’s first seven points, but an Iguodala three-pointer and dunk punctuated an 18-6 Heat run late in the quarter, and Miami led 29-23 to start the second.

The Raptors picked up the pace in the second, and Anunoby’s pair of threes were part of a 9-0 Raptors run that sliced Miami’s lead to two points. Toronto went into the halftime break up 58-56.

The Raptors host Miami again on Friday, then play back-to-back games at Indiana. The NBA’s two-game series model is a way to limit travel and exposure to COVID-19 this season.

WATCH | Raptors’ senior advisor honoured by Miami University:

Wayne Embry, senior basketball advisor for the Toronto Raptors, will become the first African American enshrined in a statue on the Miami University campus. 6:59

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