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Carroll, Valanciunas, turnovers too much for Heat to overcome

While Dwyane Wade tried to explain how his Miami Heat team let a very winnable game and a 2-0 series lead slip away from them on Thursday night, his eyes drifted to his left and right and his brow furrowed.

“We had an opportunity, and that’s all you want,” he said, with 17 points to his name in Miami’s 96-92 overtime loss to the Toronto Raptors. He seemed distracted.

“You want an opportunity to win on the road, to put yourself in a great position. We did that. Seven-point lead going down the stretch. You want to lock in right there. But they got back and took a one-point lead so fast, which was tough. But we got opportunities. I didn’t think in overtime, we did a good job.”

Finally, Wade pulled himself back from the interview table.

“This mosquito is all over me,” he said, drawing a few laughs from his audience.

He may not know it, but that mosquito, or a variation of it, has been DeMarre Carroll’s mantra all year long.

Carroll, the Raptors’ top wing defender — and in their Game 2 win at the Air Canada Centre, the game’s highest scorer with 21 points — played a key part in making Wade and the Heat’s night a difficult one. He had four steals and five rebounds, helping the Raptors along in evening up their Eastern Conference semifinal at 1-1.

Miami committed 11 first-quarter turnovers and coughed up the ball 21 times, costing them 24 points.

“He was the saviour tonight, offensively,” Raptors coach Dwane Casey said of Carroll. “Twenty-one points from him and his play was huge. DeMarre was huge.

Some of those shots he made in transition and his attacking the basket were huge for us.”

Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said that his team’s 21 turnovers did them in.

“Anytime you spot a good team like this roughly 20 extra possessions . . . that’s going to be tough to overcome. We had our chances,” he said. “I felt like we were starting to take control of the game in the fourth quarter, then our inability to contain the basketball after the initial action, that led to some drives, offensive rebounds, free-throw rebounds that was probably the biggest difference.”

Miami centre Hassan Whiteside had 13 points and 13 rebounds in 39 minutes, defended by Jonas Valanciunas and his 15 points and 12 rebounds in 38 minutes.

Valanciunas carried the Raptors into overtime.

“Physical play,” Spoelstra said of what Valanciunas brought to the game. “We have to match that and exceed it at home. In the second half I thought we were aggressive, making plays, then the last four or five minutes they made those (aggressive) plays.

“We’d get a stop on the initial action . . . so you do have to credit them, they stayed with it and made those plays. That’s what happens sometimes.”


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