Lowry rescues Raptors in triumph over Heat
MIAMI — Kyle Lowry got his game back at the perfect time for the Toronto Raptors.
And the Miami Heat are in all kinds of trouble.
Shaking off epic playoff struggles, Lowry scored 33 points — including five straight to break a late tie — in a duel with Dwyane Wade to lift the Raptors to a 95-91 victory over the Heat on Saturday night in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference semifinal series.
The Raptors lead the series 2-1. Game 4 is in Miami on Monday night.
"I felt like it was just a matter of time," Lowry said.
He was a career 34-percent playoff shooter coming into Saturday, and was shooting 31 percent in these playoffs. But he connected on 11 of 19 shots, 5 of 8 from 3-point range.
"I've never lost faith in him," Toronto coach Dwane Casey said. "I've said this: He's struggled, but you don't forget how to shoot. And we needed that. We needed him to be Kyle and he was Kyle tonight."
Lowry had 29 points after halftime. So did Wade, who led everybody with 38 points and sparked a Miami comeback from 13 down in the second half.
But the Heat lost a game, and maybe much more given that center Hassan Whiteside will have an MRI today to determine how much damage he did to his right knee in a second-quarter tumble.
"We'll know more tomorrow," Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said.
Toronto center Jonas Valanciunas limped off with a sprained ankle in the third quarter, and he'll be listed as day-to-day. But Whiteside's injury seems far worse, with the free-agent-to-be's status for the rest of the series in major doubt.
"Guys have to step up," Wade said. "Nobody can be Hassan Whiteside. ... We have to figure out a way."
DeMar DeRozan scored 19 points, and Valanciunas had 16 points and 12 rebounds in just 22 minutes for Toronto. Goran Dragic scored 12 points, and Joe Johnson had 10 for Miami.
It was tied at 82 when Lowry hit a 3-pointer with 2:07 left, and he followed that with a pair of free throws on the next Toronto possession. Miami answered with four straight, a layup by center Udonis Haslem followed by a nifty move in the lane by Wade that led to another score.
The Raptors went back to Lowry, and his pullup from the right wing with 31.7 seconds left was pure — giving Toronto an 89-86 lead. Wade got a layup to get Miami within one, but Toronto restored the three-point edge when DeRozan made two foul shots with 23.9 left.
Johnson missed an open 3 on the next Miami possession, the Raptors went back to the line and the Heat crowd started filing to the exits.
"Kyle hit some daggers," Wade said.