Toronto (Canada) – Fred VanVleet beat his old teammate and former leader of the Raptors, Kyle Lowry, and propelled Toronto to a 112-104 victory in which the Spanish Juancho Hernangómez had an outstanding defensive performance when the Canadian team needed him most.
The player from Madrid played almost 20 minutes and although he did not manage to score, he did add three rebounds, an assist and a steal and was the Raptors player, and of the game, with the most impact in the game, with a +/- of +17. Against the Heat, for the fourth consecutive game, Hernangómez took the field in the first quarter.
The game’s top scorer was Raptors player O.G. Anunoby who had a double-double of 32 points and 10 rebounds, in addition to three assists and a block.
His teammate Fred VanVleet had 23 points, eight assists and one rebound while Chris Boucher also had a double-double of 15 points and 10 rebounds.
On the Heat, Max Strus finished the night with 20 points while Lowry had 19 points and two assists.
Lowry returned to the house where he has had the most success in his career after obtaining the NBA ring with the Raptors in the 2018-2019 season.
After nine years with the team, Toronto, transferred the point guard, the best player in the history of the Canadian team, to the Miami Heat in 2021.
In exchange for Lowry, the Raptors acquired Precious Achiuwa and Goran Dragic. But above all, Lowry’s painful exit gave space for Fred VanVleet and Pascal Siakam to assume the leadership of the team and develop their potential.
The plan has begun to bear fruit. Although Dragic didn’t work out in Toronto, Achiuwa has started to show his potential, Siakam has exploded and VanVleet has naturally assumed the role of team leader.
VanVleet has already broken one of Lowry’s records with the Raptors, that of 3-pointers. Lowry scored 239 in the 2017-2018 season. VanVleet set a new record of 242 last season.
And although other point guard records, such as triple-doubles or field points, are still far from the reach of the current Raptors players, two seasons after his departure, the Toronto team has already left the Lowry stage behind.
HEAT IMPOSES ITS RHYTHM
From the opening jump, the Heat didn’t let the Raptors settle into the game. In the first quarter, the Miami men’s weapons were the rapid movement of the ball in attack and the success of the young Nikola Jovic in attack.
The 19-year-old Serbian power forward scored 11 points in the first quarter, more than all the player had scored in the NBA to date. And he scored both from under the rim and from beyond the 3-point line.
Jovic’s effectiveness was only answered by Scottie Barnes for the Raptors, who scored 9 points in the opening quarter that ended 27-31 in favor of the visitors.
In the second quarter, the Heat continued to control the tempo of the game. And if in the first quarter Jovic became the spearhead of the Miami team, in the second quarter Max Strus took over.
Strus was unstoppable, converting two of the three 3-pointers he took and scoring a total of 15 points in the second quarter. This time he got O.G. Anunoby gave the answer for the Raptors with 12 points that allowed the Miami team not to leave permanently.
The break was reached with a 54-60 in favor of the Heat.
But in the third quarter, VanVleet hit the table in front of his former number one. Shortly after the restart of the game, the Heat reached their maximum advantage, 11 points, 59-70 after a triple by Lowry and a dunk by Jimmy Butler.
From that moment on, and with Juancho on the court, the Raptors increased their pace and multiplied the pressure on the Heat.
For nearly seven minutes, the Heat were unable to score and the Raptors put them on a 21-0 run that turned the game around. By the end of the third quarter, VanVleet had scored 13 points to just three from Lowry, and the Raptors were up five points, 84-79.
Early in the fourth quarter, the Heat tried to regain the initiative. A triple by Gabe Vincent put the Miami team within two points, 86-84, with 10 minutes left in the game. The Raptors reacted and recovered the 10-point lead, 96-86.
A further effort by Lowry brought the Heat within a tying basket several times in the final six minutes of the game. But the Raptors controlled the situation to finally win 112-104.
Melissa Galbraith is the World News reporter for Globe Live Media. She covers all the major events happening around the World. From Europe to Americas, from Asia to Antarctica, Melissa covers it all. Never miss another Major World Event by bookmarking her author page right here.