Not all things that show up in South Beach are that talented, apparently. The Raptors took their road show to Miami last night, dropping their seventh straight to close a five-game trip, 120-103 to LeBron and the Heat. It was actually made slightly respectable in the fourth quarter, but a 26-point halftime deficit was enough to keep it all the way out of reach.
With only nine players healthy, the Raps were pretty much done before this one even started, and the absence of Dwyane Wade and some dinosaur lookalike for the Heat was of little loss to King James & c0mpany. LeBron was a man amongst boys, scoring 38 points, grabbing 11 boards and adding six assists in a performance that left me in awe of how one player can be on such a higher level than everyone else, even in the pros. Miami also got a big performance from Mike Miller, who scored 31 after coming in with 15 total in 10 games since coming back from thumb surgery. Yep, that’s what facing the Raptors will do for a guy.
On a positive note, DeMar DeRozan shook a foul-plagued first half to score a team-high 30 points, 23 of which came in the final two quarters. The maturation continues for the little fella that couldn’t stick a 12-foot jumper six weeks ago, with last night’s effort his seventh 20+ point game in his last 13, a span in which he’s averaged 20.8 per game and shot 48.4% from the field. Andrea Bargnani shook a recent funk to score 28 and Jose Calderon had 14 points, five rebounds and 13 assists.
Anyway, that wraps up a hellish five-game trip through the southern states, with finishing visits to Orlando and Miami doing little to soften the blow. The current losing skid leaves the Raptors 13-31, which is good for 13th in the East but still a mere five games back of the eighth seed (I’m not saying that to get anyone’s hopes up, though). They’re home for three straight winnable ones next, with Memphis making the trip in for a Monday night tip to get things rolling.