The short-handed Miami Heat earned a hard-fought 111-102 win as the Toronto Raptors' three-game win streak comes to an end.
Even without Jimmy Butler and Tyler Herro, the Heat were able to put together a balanced scoring effort with six different players notching double figures to outlast the Raptors.
For more on this close contest, we have you covered with some thought below.
1. Miami gets a much-needed win
The Heat have struggled as much as any team in the NBA, mostly because of a combination of injuries and players missing games due to health and safety protocols. Without key rotation players like Butler, Herro, Avery Bradley and Meyers Leonard, Miami was desperate for a win. Beating a Raptors team that entered the contest riding a three-game winning streak gives the Heat one of their better wins of the season as they hope to have some of those players back in action when these teams face off again on Friday.
2. Kendrick Nunn shows out
After starting in all 67 regular season games as a rookie last season, Nunn's playing time has been all over the place in Year 2. With a handful of players out due to injury or health and safety protocols, the 2020 All-Rookie First Team selection got a chance to shine in this one and did exactly that.
Nunn gave Miami more than just a burst off the bench, leading all scorers with a season-high 28 points while shooting 9-for-12 from the field and 4-for-6 from 3. He also added eight rebounds and five assists as the catalyst of Miami's offence to help power his team to a huge victory.
Kendrick isn't messing around tonight 👀- Miami HEAT (@MiamiHEAT) January 21, 2021
16 Pts / 4 Rebs / 3 Asts / 1 Stl pic.twitter.com/KuGZAPfdhi
3. Where was Pascal Siakam?
Siakam took an awkward fall after a strong dunk in the first quarter but after he returned to action, he was a non-factor. Finishing with 18 points and six rebounds, his stat line looks more generous due to a couple late buckets when the game was already decided.
The All-Star forward's impact was hardly felt on either end of the floor or on the glass. He had trouble getting into a rhythm against Miami's patented 2-3 zone, struggling to get to his spots. Even when the Heat went man-to-man, the Raptors couldn't seem to get him involved.
While Siakam had a strong stretch to offset his slow start to the season, ideally Toronto would get more from its star player on a nightly basis.
4. Bam Adebayo's balanced effort
The combination of the Raptors' current centre rotation state and the Heat's limited depth with players out should have lined up for a monster showing from All-Star centre Adebayo. That wasn't exactly the case from a scoring standpoint.
Adebayo couldn't get it going early on, only scoring four points in the first half. He would finish with just 14 points while shooting 6-for-14 from the field but filled it up in other areas as he so often does, adding 13 rebounds and seven assists.
This impressive skip pass off the dribble for a Goran Dragic 3 was the nail in the coffin on Toronto's comeback hopes:
Bam dimes 😍 pic.twitter.com/0ddsuzDsAl- Miami HEAT (@MiamiHEAT) January 21, 2021
5. Steady Freddy keeps the Raptors clicking
Stop me if you've heard this one before: Fred VanVleet was the engine that kept Toronto going.
It's becoming a constant that VanVleet will pace the Raptors when they need him most and that was exactly the case in this one, going for 24 points and nine assists. His scoring was crucial to give the Raptors a chance but his playmaking made their lacklustre offence serviceable in trying to get others involved.
He also got to the free throw line a season-high eight times, going 7-for-8 from the stripe to represent the continued pressure he's putting on opposing defences this season by attacking the rim more frequently.
Despite the loss, it was another strong showing from VanVleet.
6. OG Anunoby heating up from 3
Anunoby has had the hot hand from beyond the arc as of late and that carried into this contest. Over the Raptors' previous five games, Anunoby was 15-for-29 from long range for a blistering clip of 51.7%.
He had it going again from distance against the Heat, shooting 4-for-8 from 3. Shooting with confidence, Anunoby's jumper looked smooth as he notched 18 points in the game.
That OG confidence pic.twitter.com/CT9BE3WtS8- Toronto Raptors (@Raptors) January 21, 2021
For a player that is typically known for his defence, it helps space things out for everyone on the Raptors when Anunoby is knocking down the long ball. Anything he adds on offence is a plus, and OG has now scored in double figures in six straight contests.
7. Terence Davis gives the bench life
Minutes have been inconsistent for the second-year guard who earned a spot on the NBA's All-Rookie Second Team last season, but he made the most of his playing time in this one. After the Heat's run to end the first quarter gave them a solid lead going into the second frame, Davis brought the energy off the bench to bring the Raptors back in the game.
Scoring 13 points in the second quarter alone, Davis knocked down three 3s and had a steal that led to a breakaway jam.
Always dunk your cookies pic.twitter.com/v7FzIM7cN8- Toronto Raptors (@Raptors) January 21, 2021
He only scored three more points for the remainder of the game but also added three steals to prove his worth as more than just a scoring spark. Let's see if he'll get more opportunities from head coach Nick Nurse following this performance.
8. What's next?
The Raptors and Heat will each have one day off before facing off again on Friday, Jan. 22 at 7:30 p.m ET on TSN in Canada.
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