May 29th, 2024

Heat tune up for postseason by topping Raptors 118-103 in regular season finale

By Tim Reynolds, The Associated Press on April 14, 2024.

MIAMI (AP) – Thomas Bryant scored 18 points and grabbed 10 rebounds, Jaime Jaquez Jr. added 18 points and the Miami Heat tuned up for a trip to the play-in tournament by beating the Toronto Raptors 118-103 on Sunday.

Bam Adebayo and Tyler Herro each scored 17 for Miami, while Jimmy Butler scored 15, Caleb Martin 12 and Delon Wright 11 for the Heat.

Wright also had five steals for Miami, which ended 46-36 – good enough for only the No. 8 spot in the East. The Heat will go to Philadelphia to open the play-in tournament on Wednesday, with the winner securing the No. 7 seed.

The loser of the Miami-Philadelphia game will play host to either Atlanta or Chicago on Friday to determine the No. 8 seed and who’ll face No. 1 seed Boston in Round 1.

Gary Trent Jr. scored 18 points for Toronto. Jordan Nwora and Gradey Dick each scored 14, Kelly Olynyk scored 11 and Ochai Agbaji added 10.

Toronto finished 25-57, the fifth-worst record in franchise history. There was some early hope; the Raptors started 8-8 and a three-game winning streak in late February pushed their record to 22-36.

They went 3-21 the rest of the way, playing much of that final stretch without Scottie Barnes – a former rookie of the year who made his first All-Star team this year – because of injury.

“I think we managed to keep the group together and keep high spirits and really focused on player development of our young core,” Raptors coach Darko Rajaković said. “So, there is a lot of positive things that we’re going to embrace and look for going for into the future.”

It was tied after one quarter and the intrigue didn’t last much longer. Miami outscored Toronto 43-22 in the second to build a 67-46 halftime lead. The 21-point margin in the second quarter was Miami’s second-biggest of any period this season; the Heat outscored Portland by 24 in the second quarter of what became a 60-point win on March 29.

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AP NBA: https://apnews.com/hub/NBA

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