Recap itchy skin patches on body miami heat out-annoying toronto raptors, prevail in ot 121-110 – raptors hq

A game between the two most annoying teams on the planet was always going to come down to which side could be just the slightest bit more obnoxious. In the first of what should be three truly blood-boiling match-ups between the Raptors and Heat this year, it was Miami that left with the slight edge in irritation — 121-110 in overtime the final score.

From the start of the disjointed and low-energy first half, the Raps seemed confused to be up against a team that tries just as bloody hard as they do. Working Kyle Lowry back into a team that was just starting to find its groove without him was going to be tricky against a relaxing opponent — let alone one that’s violating your personal space at every turn.

Against this Miami team, even your successes are a pain in the ass; scoring against their thicket of arms and muscles is more a relief than something you feel any sort of accomplishment about. Basic swings around the horn become suddenly fraught when the Heat are geeked up. Toronto barely scraped out more than a point per possession on the night, and some of their prettiest buckets came at the end of 18 seconds or so of extreme danger.

One of the heaviest brunt-bearers of the Miami swarm was Pascal Siakam. Just two days removed from a three-level bucket party against Utah, Siakam was out of sorts from the tip. It’s probably safe to add Bam Adebayo to list of guys who truly spook Siakam in single coverage; Giannis Antetokounmpo and noted zero-point scorer Joel Embiid are the only guys who have been more of a problem for Siakam’s rhythm-dependent offensive stylings.

“Give Bam some credit. He did a good job. I thought he was physical with him, thought he moved his feet and kept him in front,” Nurse said of Adebayo’s effect on Toronto’s top scorer. “Pascal couldn’t get around him, couldn’t get over the top of him very well either. And I thought as well as a team defense, you know there’s a few times I that I looked and Pascal was in the paint with four guys on him … they sent a lot of attention to him but it started with Bam.”

Toronto surely vexed Miami throughout the evening as well, as they’re wont to do. A spritely second quarter run led by the latest in a long line of Lowry-plus-bench looks helped Toronto crawl back near even through a tasteful mix of defense, chaos and Lowry’s deft orchestration. But as would become a trend later in the evening, no Raptors run sustained for long.

As Miami frustratingly nursed its narrow lead into the fourth, the things that make the Raptors so exhausting to play against began to work against them. After a promising start in the first half, the group of Lowry, Terence Davis, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, Norman Powell and Serge Ibaka fell victim to its own zaniness. The drawback of employing so many chaotic maniacs is that sometimes they’ll push the unruliness past the point of effectiveness. RHJ had what will go down as his worst night since his joining the rotation — just 6-3-1 with a pair of turnovers and a handful of miscommunications on the defensive glass. Ibaka found his stroke in the middle portion of the game, but remnants of 10 games worth of rust showed up as crunch time inched nearer.

Lowry’s calm set the table for a hypertension-causing home stretch. Rolling with the starting lineup, minus OG Anunoby, plus Norman Powell, the Raptors battled back from a mini Kelly Olynyk (?) onslaught to somehow force overtime. Many thanks belong to Norman Powell, who canned a pair of icy cold threes in the closing minutes, and was just about the only reliable Raptor on offense all night. He finished with 23 points on 8-of-14 shooting.

“It was a tricky one for me tonight,” said Nurse of how he managed Lowry in the face of an off night from the floor. “I bring him back and then he’s kinda part of the comeback there at the end and made some plays and was trying everything he could, and he make some good plays, and then you get to overtime you kind of roll with what you have.”

Lowry’s counterpart in internal skin-itching, Jimmy Butler, was the hammer-dropper on Wednesday. An and-1 on a mid-range jumper, a impossible, leaning three, and a transition lay-up off a steal in the opening minute of OT provided five points more than Miami needed in the entire frame to win the game. Butler’s the kind of bastard you simply have to respect, man. That sentiment applies to his new team as well — a team that now sits even with the Raptors at 15-5.

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