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Heat warming up, visit banged-up Raptors

Nov 12, 2022; Miami, Florida, USA; Miami Heat center Bam Adebayo (13) dunks the ball over Charlotte Hornets guard Kelly Oubre Jr. (12) during the second half at FTX Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

The Miami Heat will visit the Toronto Raptors on Wednesday night with both teams coming off victories that were impressive for different reasons.

The Heat won their third consecutive home game — their longest winning streak of the young season Monday night — by outscoring the Phoenix Suns 24-10 in the final eight minutes to eke out a 113-112 victory. Bam Adebayo scored 12 points during that winning run and Jimmy Butler blocked Devin Booker’s shot with 6.2 seconds to play.

Meanwhile, the injury-depleted Raptors were performing some heroics of their own on Monday when they defeated the host Detroit Pistons 115-111.

The Raptors were without Pascal Siakam (groin), Fred VanVleet (non-COVID illness), Precious Achiuwa (ankle sprain), and Gary Trent Jr. (hip). In addition, Otto Porter Jr. (toe) left at halftime.

Yet, with Dalano Banton scoring a career-high 27 points, Chris Boucher matching his season best with 20 points and Jeff Dowtin Jr. blocking a shot with 19.2 seconds left in the game, the Raptors emerged victorious following a pair of road losses.

Regular starter O.G. Anunoby added 19 points, seven rebounds and two blocked shots.

“I think everybody contributed and that’s what it takes when you are playing so many different guys,” Raptors coach Nick Nurse said.

Banton was making his second career start.

“He’s shooting the ball really well this year,” Nurse said. “When he’s catching and faced up, you’re expecting him to make them now, which is a huge step forward for him.”

Banton said the improvement was a result of summer work with the Raptors, Team Canada and practice on his own.

“Just trusting in the process and the tweaks and things they want to make to my shot,” Banton said. “Like just trying to get it off faster, game-like shots and stuff like that. … I’m just glad to have teammates that keep putting the ball in my hands when I’m open to shoot.”

Dowtin had made only two previous appearances for a combined 8:22 this season — and had not played in the previous six games — before playing 15 minutes Monday, when he recorded four points, four rebounds, two assists and the key block of Jaden Ivy’s layup attempt with the Heat leading 111-108.

“It definitely felt good that coach trusted me down the line,” Dowtin said. “I was able to get a defensive stop for the team.”

Adebayo led Miami’s victory over Phoenix with 30 points and 10 rebounds, and Butler had 16 points, 13 rebounds and seven assists.

“They’re the epitome of being two-way basketball players,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. “Those two guys are really the foundational heartbeat, the pieces to our team. We follow their warrior spirits.”

“Bam got hella aggressive, got to the line,” Butler said. “Me and Kyle (Lowry) made sure everybody was comfortable … and then we got some stops. I love the fact that we won this game on the defensive end. That’s all that was. We can win any way, shape or form. This is a good win.”

Lowry, a former Raptor, had 15 points and six assists on Monday.

Miami was without Tyler Herro (ankle sprain) for the fourth straight game.

“You just never know with ankle sprains,” Spoelstra said. “They’re never on necessarily your timeline, so he just doesn’t have the mobility yet, but he’s getting better. He’s making progress.”

With Herro out, Max Strus started again and had five points on Monday after scoring 31 on Saturday.

–Field Level Media

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