Bosh lifts Heat over Raptors
TORONTO—Chris Bosh lifted the Miami Heat to victory over his old team yesterday—and then he thanked Toronto fans for helping him do so.
Bosh, who was received by a chorus of boos during team introductions, scored 13 of his 28 points in the fourth quarter as the Heat beat the Raptors 100-85 for their 10th-consecutive victory over Toronto.
“I thank them for continuing to stay on me and call me names and stuff because that helped my focus a lot.
“I was like, ‘I need to get in this to shut them up,’” he added.
LeBron James poured in a game-high 30 points while Dwyane Wade added 23 points for the Heat (30-14).
The loss spoiled strong efforts by new Raptors’ forward Rudy Gay, who scored 29 points, and DeMar DeRozan, who added 27.
“I wouldn’t say I’m 100 percent comfortable,” admitted Gay, two days after joining his new team. “I’m still feeling my way out there.
“I still think this is a game we could’ve won,” he added. “We still have a couple things to iron out in practice.”
Kyle Lowry added 10 points for Toronto (17-31) while Aaron Grey had a game-high 12 rebounds to go with six points.
Raptors’ coach Dwane Casey knew the Heat would be hungry coming off a 102-89 loss Friday in Indiana.
“They’re going to be like a bunch of wet hens,” Casey had said before the game.
“They’re going to be really, really ready to play.”
Toronto, meanwhile, was coming off a thrilling 98-73 victory over the L.A. Clippers in Gay’s debut with the Raptors.
And while the Heat needed overtime to beat Toronto 123-116 when the teams met Jan. 23 in Miami, that wasn’t the case yesterday.
Toronto led by eight in the second quarter, but were trailing 71-67 by the end of the third. Then six-consecutive points by Bosh gave the Heat a six-point lead with 5:41 left.
“They’re the defending champs,” Gay noted. “I say for three-and-a-half quarters, we played them as well as anybody in the league.
“The fact that we haven’t been together for a long time, they exposed that in the fourth and a little bit in the third,” he added.
A DeRozan dunk made it a three-point game with under five minutes to play. But a wide-open Bosh drained a three-pointer from the corner, and James followed it up with a dunk and then a three of his own to put the Heat up by 12 and the game out of reach with 1:28 to go to the disappointment of an Air Canada Centre capacity crowd of 19,800.
Bosh’s three prompted one fan to stand up and holler: “Why couldn’t you play like that when you were in Toronto?”
“I’m a little surprised,” Bosh said of the booing. “But, you know, they paid their money, they can do what they want.
“I hope they just remember the good times.”
DeRozan had high praise for his former teammate.
“I sat right next to [Bosh], his locker was right next to mine, just to play with an all-star like that my rookie year, the type of player he was, that helped me,” DeRozan noted.
“Obviously, he was the No. 1 option when he was here, but he’s stepped into his new role [as part of a trio of stars].
“I think he was definitely a key component to win that championship that they won,” DeRozan added. “He’s just doing what he does, from rebounding, playing defence, to scoring the ball.
“Everybody knows he can score the ball when he wants, and he proved it tonight.”
Toronto shot just 37 percent on the night to the Heat’s 53 percent.
The Raptors’ bench was of little help to the starters, shooting just 4-for-18 for 11 points.
Elsewhere in the NBA, Boston nipped the L.A. Clippers 106-104 and the L.A. Lakers edged Detroit 98-97.