Here’s an unfamiliar sight: Heat guard Dwyane Wade, less than 12 hours after taking the court against Philadelphia on Saturday, in the starting five against Toronto on Sunday.
Wade finished out a back-to-back Sunday and pulled a double-double. Just before tipoff, he skipped around the court at AmericanAirlines Arena, pumping up the crowd.
He had an impressive start against the Raptors, jumping out to a team-high eight points in the first quarter. Chris Bosh was the only player on the court longer than Wade — the guard played 30 minutes total, and pulled 17 points and a game-high 11 rebounds.
Wade played in only three back-to-back series last season and saw action in only 54 games in an effort to keep his surgically repaired knees healthy. Without LeBron James, the Heat can’t afford to keep the guard on last season’s maintenance program.
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The Heat’s matchup against the Raptor’s ended Miami’s first of 16 back-to-back games this season. The team’s next four games come in back-to-back pairs, and neither features two home games in a row for Miami.
ON TOP IN EAST
With its victory Sunday, the Heat is the only unbeaten team in the Eastern Conference.
Miami was Toronto’s first loss of the season, and the Los Angeles Clippers lost to Sacramento 98-92 Sunday, which makes the Heat one of only four teams in the NBA that have yet to lose a game this season.
Golden State, one of the other undefeated teams, played Portland last Sunday night
The last time the Heat started 3-0 was during the 2011-2012 season, in which it ended as NBA champions.
Udonis Haslem (quad) and Chris Andersen (bruised rib) were listed as inactive against the Raptors.
Coach Erik Spoelstra decided to dress Danny Granger, who has a sore hamstring after tweaking the muscle in practice last week, but said he would likely not play.
Josh McRoberts, whom Spoelstra made available for “spot minutes” against Toronto, played eight minutes. He logged two points and a rebound.
McRoberts played 11 minutes in his Heat debut Saturday against Philadelphia after having spent the summer and preseason recovering from toe surgery.
Toronto’s Amir Johnson, who scored 14 points in the Raptor’s 108-95 win against Orlando on Saturday, also sat out Sunday.
THIS AND THAT
▪ The Heat won its third game in a row on the free-throw line Sunday. Miami missed only four free throws to go 22 of 26 from the line. Wade and Shabazz Napier ended the night without missing a free throw.
The Raptors went 21 of 34 from the line, sacrificing 13 points that would have given them a win.
▪ Through three games, there are five Heat players averaging double-digit points: Chris Bosh (28), Norris Cole (16.5), Wade (15), Luol Deng (13.5) and Mario Chalmers (14).