TORONTO — The Miami Heat ended Toronto’s perfect record at home this season, and played spoiler in Kyle Lowry’s first game after missing 11.
Jimmy Butler had 22 points, 13 rebounds and 12 assists Tuesday to lead the Heat to a 121-110 overtime victory, which also halted the Raptors’ seven-game winning streak.
Norman Powell had 23 points including two huge three-pointers late in regulation for the Raptors (15-5), who’d won a franchise-best nine games at home before Tuesday, but coughed up the win when they shot 0 for 9 in overtime.
Fred VanVleet had 19 points, Pascal Siakiam had 15 points and 12 rebounds, and Lowry finished with 12 points and 11 assists. Marc Gasol chipped in with 14 points, while Serge Ibaka added 13.
Justise Winslow added 17 points for Miami (15-5).
Lowry, who was sidelined with a fractured left thumb, missed his first 11 shots Tuesday — including one from the logo to end the first half — but his animated arguing at the officials was in mid-season form. The Raptors had gone 9-2 without their five-time all-star point guard.
It was a single-digit deficit for most of the night in a game between two evenly-matched teams. The Heat led by as many as 11 points early on, but the Raptors clawed their way back and when VanVleet shimmied around Derrick Jones for a layup and free throw with seven seconds left in the third, Toronto pulled to within 83-81 with one quarter left.
Lowry finally scored on a putback for his first field goal of the game with 8:20 to play. An Ibaka free throw on Toronto’s next possession had the Raptors within three points.
But Miami was putting the brakes on every Toronto drive, and five consecutive points from Canadian Kelly Olynyk had Miami up by eight with 4:51 to go.
With 1:43 to play however, Powell hit his first of two huge three-pointers. Lowry calmly sank two free throws, and then Powell’s second bomb from beyond the arc, with 43 seconds to play, put Toronto up 108-107 — and had the capacity Scotiabank Arena crowd — including former longtime Raptors guard Jose Calderon, and actor Nicholas Braun who plays Greg Hirsch in HBO’s hit show “Succession” — on its feet roaring.
Butler connected on a free throw to tie the game with 38 seconds left, Siakam lost possession when he ran into a swarm up Heat defenders, then Butler missed on a shot at the buzzer to win, sending the game into extra time all tied up at 108-108.
Butler went to work in OT, scoring eight unanswered points in the first 55 seconds. The Raptors missed four straight shots before Powell finally scored on a pair of free throws. But Olynyk connected on a three with 29 seconds left to send fans pouring toward the exits.
Heat coach Erik Spoelstra had predicted a dogfight between the two teams who are chasing Milwaukee for top spot in the Eastern Conference.
“You have two quality teams and they’re playing great basketball here at home,” Spoelstra said. “If you are going to play a team like this in their building, you’re going to have to do things that are different and above and beyond. That’s just the reality.”
Olynyk finished with 16 points for the Heat. The 28-year-old from Kamloops, B.C., who was honoured with a video tribute during a timeout, said earlier in the day that his contract status will largely determine if he plays for Canada this summer. Olynyk suffered a bone bruise in his knee while playing for Canada in August, missed all of training camp, and said he’s only now starting to round into form.
The Heat held Toronto to just 33 per cent shooting in the first quarter, and when Justise Winslow scored on a driving layup late in the quarter Miami took a nine-point lead. The visitors took a 32-23 advantage into the second.
Gasol drilled a three-pointer, slapping his thigh in celebration, that capped a 16-8 Raptors run and pulled Toronto to within a point midway through the second quarter. Miami headed into the dressing room at halftime up 58-53.
Toronto hosts the Houston Rockets on Thursday, then visit Philadelphia on Sunday before returning home to host Kawhi Leonard and the Los Angeles Clippers on Dec. 11.
Lori Ewing, The Canadian Press