Gary Trent Jr. scored 33 points as the Toronto Raptors beat the Miami Heat, 110-106, at Scotiabank Arena on Tuesday for their third straight win.
Fred VanVleet added 21 points, and Pascal Siakam finished with 16 points and14 rebounds for the Raptors (26-23).
Bam Adebayo had a double-double in the losing effort for Miami (32-20), with 32 points and 11 rebounds.
Trent, who shot 11-for-20 from the field, entered Tuesday’s contest on a four-game streak of scoring at least 30 points in a game. He extended it to five on Tuesday, joining DeMar DeRozan as the only other Raptor to do so.
“Its a surreal feeling,” said Trent of tying DeRozan’s record. “What he’s done for this organization, this city, the type of player he is, what he stands for, where he’s from, his background. To share that with him, knowing what he does and what he means for this organization, I can’t put into words.”
Toronto coach Nick Nurse voiced his praise of Trent and his recent play.
“Every time he starts [isolating], you’re expecting him to walk away with a bucket these days, no matter what he has to do,” Nurse said.
Tuesday’s game would’ve been Heat, and former Raptors, guard Kyle Lowry’s much-anticipated return to Toronto. Unfortunately, Lowry was forced to miss his ninth straight game as he attends to a personal matter. Fans will, instead, have to wait until April 3 now for a potential Lowry return to Toronto.
Siakam and Precious Achiuwa hit back-to-back three-pointers to give Toronto a three-point lead with a little over nine minutes to play. The two teams would take turns trading the lead until Trent went on a personal 8-0 run to put Toronto up 100-93 with 4:35 remaining. The Heat were able to get the lead down to as few as two, but that was as close as they got.
WATCH | Trent Jr. leads Raptors past Heat:
Miami played a strong first half that appeared to overwhelm a Raptors team that didn’t look quite as sharp as it had in its previous two games as the Heat carried a 62-50 lead after the first 24 minutes. Miami shot 57.9 per cent from the floor in the half and Adebayo had 19 points in the opening two periods, alone.
Toronto responded after the break, using a 10-2 run that saw VanVleet and Siakam score all the points, to cut Miami’s lead to four with about six-and-a-half minutes left in the frame.
A couple minutes later, Chris Boucher took a hit to the groin area on an offensive foul by Jimmy Butler as Butler kicked out his leg. The play appeared to spark both teams as the Raptors and Heat traded baskets to end the period with Miami clinging to an 83-80 lead heading into the fourth.
“I think that they’re doing a really good job of not thinking about that,” said Nurse. “Even though everybody’s talking about it and asking them about it and talking about it, they’re lost in the competition.”
Toronto is in the midst of a stretch that’s seeing the team play four games in five nights. The Raptors opened this frame in their schedule with a 106-100 victory over the Hawks in Atlanta on Monday.
Achiuwa, one of the players Lowry was traded for in the sign-and-trade transaction between Toronto and Miami in the off-season, along with rookie Barnes were named to the NBA’s Rising Stars showcase on Tuesday.
Achiuwa finished Tuesday’s contest with 12 points, while Barnes had 11.
Raptors centre Khem Birch missed his 10th consecutive game with a nose fracture. Nurse said Birch is “within a week of playing” again before the game.
Up next for the Raptors will be another back-to-back, against the Chicago Bulls and Atlanta Hawks, both at home, beginning Thursday.
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