DEMAR DeRozan notched back-to-back 40-point games to carry the fight for the Toronto Raptors early before the bench sparked a late surge to take down the Miami Heat, 101-84, at the American Airlines Arena on Thursday (Friday, Manila time).
DeRozan scored 34 of his 40 points in the first three quarters to help Toronto stay close despite a hot start by Miami, who led by as much as 15 early in the game. The Raptors clawed back and pulled away for good with a 23-6 blitz bridging the third and fourth periods to lead by 17, 90-73, with 5:58 to play.
The Heat countered with an 8-2 rally to get within 11, but DeRozan came up clutch with a pair of free throws, a basket and an assist to a PJ Tucker triple to push the lead back to 16, 99-83, with 1:34 to go as Toronto held on for their fourth straight win.
With Kyle Lowry out and Serge Ibaka suspended, Toronto found ample support on offense for DeRozan from the bench as Norman Powell and Delon Wright scored 14 and 13, respectively. The Raptors (43-29) are half a game behind the Wizards for the third seed in the East.
Hassan Whiteside led the Heat with 16 points, 14 rebounds and two blocks, while Goran Dragic and Rodney McGruder scored 13 apiece. Miami (35-37) holds a one game lead over the Detroit Pistons and Chicago Bulls for the last spot in the East playoff race.