Dwyane Wade and the Miami Heat regrouped after surviving a miracle shot.
Slovenian Goran Dragic scored a career play-off high 26 points, Wade added seven of his 24 in overtime and the visiting Heat escaped the Toronto Raptors 102-96 on Tuesday in the opener of their Eastern Conference semi-final series.
“We’ll take this win,” Wade said. “We fought for it but we know we can play better.”
Heat coach Erik Spoelstra praised his veteran All-Star guard.
“Dwyane willed a bunch of plays down the stretch at both ends,” he said. “That’s the mental toughness he always shows at these moments.
That’s what great leaders do for your basketball team
The Heat appeared to have the game won in regulation before slump-ridden All-Star guard Kyle Lowry (7 points on 3-of-13 shooting) buried a 40-foot desperation half-court heave at the buzzer to force overtime at 90-apiece.
“I had a good look and said, ‘No way, it’s not about to happen,’” Wade said. “When it goes in you’re just crushed for a moment because you want to wrap the game up in regulation. You know you have five minutes more to play.
“Our response is what we’ve done all year. That’s what I love about this team. We regrouped, we got the ball into the right hands and our defence was great.”
The Heat opened the extra session with eight straight points, including four by Wade to go up 98-90 with 1:21 left.
DeMar DeRozan’s jumper put the Raptors on the board before a DeMarre Carroll layup and Jonas Valanciunas dunk made it 99-96.
DeRozan got the ball following a Heat turnover but Wade stripped him of it and drove in for the clinching three-point play with 1.8 seconds left.
“Lowry’s three as soon as it left everybody in the building had an idea it was going to go,” Spoelstra said.
“From that point on I was proud of the group. To get knocked down on the canvas like that - the air punctured out of your body - and to show the mental resolve to take control in overtime. That’s a great mental toughness we showed.”
Joe Johnson scored 16 points and Hassan Whiteside had 17 rebounds as third-seeded Miami stole home-court advantage in the best-of-seven series.
Valanciunas had 24 points with 14 rebounds and DeRozan added 22 points for the second-seeded Raptors, who dropped to 1-9 in the opening game of a post-season series.
“I liked our battle,” Toronto coach Dwane Casey said. “We just have to clean up some situations that we created ourselves to make sure we take advantage in the next game.”
•Golden State Warriors 110, Portland Trail Blazers 99: Klay Thompson fired in 20 of his 27 points in the second half and the Warriors stormed past the visiting Trail Blazers to grab a 2-0 lead in their Western Conference semi-final series.
“It took us a while to get going but we had enough time to battle back and turn around what was a pretty bad game for us,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said. The defending NBA champs trailed by 17 in the opening half and 91-82 heading into the fourth quarter before dominating their guests 34-12 in the final frame.
Draymond Green had 17 points with 14 rebounds, reserve Andre Iguodala netted 15, while Shaun Livingston added 14 for the top-seeded Warriors, who played without injured league MVP Stephen Curry (right knee sprain) for the fourth straight game. Game 3 shifts to Portland Saturday and Curry may be back in the line-up.
Damian Lillard topped the fifth-seeded Trail Blazers with 25 points but went scoreless in the fourth quarter, while C.J. McCollum added 22.
“We played a great three quarters but offensively we had slippage and stopped trusting ourselves,” Lillard said. “Golden State is a great team and they took advantage of it.
“We had an opportunity to steal one on the road. It hurts to go back into the locker room with an L after we played so well.”
Eastern Conference semi-final
Toronto 96 Miami 102
(Miami lead series 1-0)
Western Conference semi-final
Golden State 110 Portland 99
(Golden State lead series 2-0)
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