July 17th, 2024

Trent helps Raptors roll past Heat 121-97 hours after Siakam reportedly traded

By John Chidley-Hill, The Canadian Press on January 17, 2024.

Toronto Raptors guard RJ Barrett (9) shoots over Miami Heat guard Josh Richardson (left) and guard Tyler Herro (14) during first half NBA basketball action in Toronto on Wednesday, Jan. 17, 2024. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn

TORONTO – Gary Trent Jr. had a season-high 28 points, combined with a season-best eight three-pointers, as Toronto stunned the Miami Heat 121-97 on Wednesday, hours after the Raptors reportedly traded all-star forward Pascal Siakam.

Immanuel Quickley almost had a triple-double with 17 points, nine assists and eight rebounds as Toronto (16-25) snapped a four-game skid. RJ Barrett of Mississauga, Ont., scored 26 points and added eight rebounds.

Siakam was not in the Raptors’ lineup as he was traded to the Indiana Pacers before the game, pending league approval.

Neither Toronto nor Indiana had confirmed the deal before opening tipoff, but Siakam’s locker was empty and his name plate above it removed before the game. His jersey was also no longer available at Scotiabank Arena’s store.

Tyler Herro had 16 points and seven assists as Miami (24-17) saw its three-game win streak end. Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo also had 16 points apiece.

Former Raptors guard Kyle Lowry had four points, three assists and two rebounds for the Heat.

The Raptors had a season-worst 12.5 per cent three-point performance in a 105-96 loss to the Boston Celtics on Monday, going 4 for 32 from beyond the arc. Toronto came out firing against Miami, however, drilling 7 of 10 three-point attempts in the first quarter alone.

Raptors rookie forward Gradey Dick stole the ball from Herro, spun around a Heat defender, and passed to Barrett for an emphatic breakaway dunk with 10.2 seconds left in the first quarter. The 19,631 fans in attendance went wild after Barrett’s jam gave Toronto a 41-18 lead.

The barrage continued in the second, with the Raptors hitting another seven three-pointers for a 78-43 lead heading into intermission. Barrett and Trent had 17 and 16 points respectively by halftime.

Toronto’s shooting cooled off considerably in the third, going 6 for 22 in the quarter, including 2 for 8 on three-pointers. That allowed Miami, led by Herro’s nine points in the period, to narrow the Raptors’ lead slightly to 94-73.

Miami opened the fourth with a 12-3 run to keep reeling in the hosts and narrow Toronto’s lead to 14. Scottie Barnes hit a 15-foot jumper and Raptors reserve guard Dennis Schroder drained a three-pointer to slow the Heat’s momentum and force a timeout with 7:05 left to play.

After that Miami couldn’t catch Toronto, with Trent hitting three more three-pointers before Rajakovic started to put players out from the deepest parts of the Raptors bench.

MILOJEVIC HONOURED – A moment of silence was held before the game to honour Dejan Milojević. The assistant coach with the Golden State Warriors died of a heart attack at the age of 46 on Wednesday. Raptors head coach Darko Rajakovic said before the game that he grew up admiring his fellow Serb.

“He was a role model as a player, as a man, as a husband, as a coach – somebody that I really admired and have a lot of respect for,” said an emotional Rajakovic.

BEN BOOED – Fans at Scotiabank Arena booed when referee Ben Taylor was listed as one of the officials ahead of the game. Taylor was directly called out by former Raptors point guard Fred VanVleet after a game last season and Rajakovic was also sharply critical of the officiating in a loss to the Los Angeles Lakers earlier this season when Taylor was part of the officiating crew.

UP NEXT – Toronto hosts the Chicago Bulls (19-23) on Thursday night.

The Heat travel back to Miami where they will welcome the Atlanta Hawks on Friday.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 17, 2024.

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