Miami Heat

Huge opportunity lost for Heat as Raptors prevail in OT of Game 2

Toronto Raptors' Jonas Valanciunas (17) stops Miami Heat's Hassan Whiteside during overtime NBA playoff basketball action in Toronto on Thurs., May 5, 2016.
Toronto Raptors' Jonas Valanciunas (17) stops Miami Heat's Hassan Whiteside during overtime NBA playoff basketball action in Toronto on Thurs., May 5, 2016. AP

Goran Dragic wanted a win for his 30th birthday.

He received eight stitches to his bottom lip instead.

DeMar DeRozan’s left elbow split the lip of the Heat’s point guard in the second quarter, leaving Dragic bloodied and then frustrated after refs called him for the foul.

It turned out to be just the beginning of a bad night.

Despite still getting little in the way of offensive efficiency from their All-Star backcourt, the Raptors still forced the Heat into 21 turnovers, rallied from a six-point, fourth-quarter deficit and evened the best-of-7 Eastern Conference semifinal series with an ugly 96-92 overtime victory at Air Canada Center.

“We felt we should have won this one,” said Dragic, who after receiving three stitches on the inside of his bottom lip and five more on the outside at halftime still managed to lead the Heat with 20 points, including the three-point shot with 10.6 seconds left in regulation that helped send the game into overtime.

“It left a bad taste in our mouth.”

After finding a way to survive Kyle Lowry’s game-tying dagger at the end of regulation and pulling out an overtime victory in Game 1 on Tuesday night, the Heat simply couldn’t generate any extra offense in the extra period on Thursday.

Miami failed to score on its first seven possessions of overtime and couldn’t catch the Raptors, who gave the Heat more than ample opportunity to head home for Game 3 on Saturday with a commanding 2-0 lead.

Toronto shot just 41.9 percent, missed free throws and blew a 14-point, first-half lead. DeRozan finished with 20 points and point guard Lowry added 18. But the All-Star backcourt duo missed 30 of their 46 combined shots.

In the end, everyone on the Heat pointed to those 21 turnovers as the biggest killer. The Heat, which had 20 in Game 1, coughed it up 11 times in the opening quarter alone.

“Spotting a good team like this roughly 20 extra possessions, however they got them, that’s a tough thing to overcome,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. “We had our chances. I felt like we’re starting to take control of the game in the fourth quarter. Then our inability to really contain the basketball after the initial contact led to some drives, offensive rebounds, free-throw rebounds — that’s probably the biggest difference.”

Miami had an 80-74 lead with four minutes to play but six missed consecutive shots, and it opened the door for the Raptors, who went on a 10-0 run to take the lead.

Raptors 7-footer Jonas Valanciunas was at the center of that comeback. He scored on a driving hook, grabbed a Lowry miss and tipped it back in and then added another tip-in — all with Heat center Hassan Whiteside on the floor trying to keep him out of the paint.

“Man, I hit the ball in,” Whiteside said of Valanciunas’ last tip-in with 1:22 to play in regulation. “It was more my fault. I hit the ball in mostly.”

Dwyane Wade, who finished with just 17 points and five turnovers, finally ended the string of misses when he buried his fourth three-pointer of the playoffs with 37.7 seconds to go. Dragic then tied it at 86 before Lowry missed a long three-pointer at the buzzer, sending it to overtime.

“I didn’t think we did a good job at all executing in overtime,” Wade said. “They came out and they blitzed us early like we knew they would with the energy here in their building, which you expect from a team in their building down 1-0. But in a sense we feel like we gave one up.”

Dragic, Wade and Whiteside all needed medical attention in the final five minutes of the second quarter.

Wade’s looked the scariest. After he missed a runner with 4:47 left in the half, he collided with Valanciunas near the rim and then remained lying on the court for a couple minutes before he limped off and found his way back to the Heat bench.

Less than 30 seconds later, Whiteside, playing with a strained right knee and bruised thigh, was yanked down by DeRozan and needed to have his left elbow examined.

“It wasn’t anything,” Whiteside said of the elbow, which he cut. “I’m going to keep going.”

Dragic was simply miffed the foul went against him.

“Of course it was a charge. I’m bleeding,” Dragic said. “If he hit me with the elbow first then it’s a charge.

“What can I say? This season, every time, I get the foul. I lost two [teeth], [got] stitches and always they call it on me. I don’t know if the refs are there watching the game or not. I don’t even want to talk [about it] because it’s only going to get worse.”

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