Heat lost 106-92 at Toronto despite Herro’s 33 points; Butler out for injury

March 29, 2023

Due to Butler’s injury, the Heat lost 106-92 at Toronto despite Herro’s 33 points.

The Miami Heat were left with the burden of overcoming that obstacle without their best player after a game in which they may have been at their lowest.

All went as planned.

The Heat struggled without Jimmy Butler in a 106-92 loss to the Toronto Raptors at Scotiabank Arena. This defeat increases the likelihood that the playoffs will end in a play-in tournament instead of the playoffs, where one or two losses mark the end of a season.

The Heat was outscored 62-36 in the paint because Butler was forced to leave in the middle of the game due to a neck injury.

The Heat followed a nearly identical pattern in losing to the Brooklyn Nets on Saturday night at Miami-Dade Arena, starting strong by establishing an early double-double lead before fading at the end.

The Heat struggled to generate offense against the Raptors’ length, but Tyler Herro and Bam Adebayo contributed 33 points and 12 rebounds, enough to make up for Butler’s absence.

Toronto, in contrast, scored a lot, including 26 O.G. points from Pascal Siakam—22-year-old Scottie Barnes, and Anunoby. Precious Achiuwa, a former Heat forward, contributed 12 points and nine rebounds for Toronto.

The Heat, who have dropped three of their previous five, finished the back-to-back road trip with a Wednesday night contest at Madison Square Garden against the New York Knicks.


Five Degrees of Heat from the contest on Tuesday


  1. Poor threes: The Heat led by 10 points in the opening period but fell behind by 24 points at the end of the first period and 53 points at the half, even though Toronto made just one of sixteen threes in the first two periods.

From then on, the match was similar to the Heat’s 129-100 home loss to the Nets on Saturday night, when they were outscored 39-18 in the third frame. This time, the Heat trailed by 19 points in the third quarter and 85-67 in the fourth.

With 3:25 left, the Heat closed to within 10, but the comeback was unsuccessful.

  1. The playoff race: The setback not only dashed the Heat’s hopes of a top-six seed and an automatic berth into the best-of-seven opening round of the playoffs but also forced them to look in the rearview mirror.

The Nets, ranked sixth, possess the head-to-head tiebreaker, and the Heat’s loss caused them to fall behind them by a half-game.

The Heat has also pushed three games back from the No. 5 Knicks. Wednesday’s victory would give New York the advantage in the tiebreaker.

With their win on Tuesday, the Raptors closed the gap between themselves and the Heat in the Eastern Conference for the No. 7 seed, and they also won the tiebreaker by taking the season series 3-1. In the first game of the play-in round, the No. 7 seed takes on the No. 8 seed, with the winner claiming the No. 7 playoff seed.

  1. The replacements: Herro and Adebayo were handed control of the offense to fill Butler’s absence.

It came out as a mixed bag.

At 5 of 8 through three quarters from beyond the arc, Herro was the face of the Heat’s 3-point shooting, carving out his own space while the rest of his colleagues were 3 of 16.

Contrarily, Adebayo struggled against the length of the Raptors and was only 3 of 13 from the field heading into the fourth.

  1. The remix: With Butler down, Victor Oladipo was only used as a starter once this season after being promoted from the rotation. Oladipo had yet to play in the previous three contests.

With starting point guard Gabe Vincent being added to the injury report before the game due to back spasms, another lineup change almost had to be made. Up until the conclusion of pregame warmups, Vincent’s condition was unknown.

The Heat used it as their 23rd starting lineup of the year. This season, Oladipo has only made one other start, which came on December 20 against the Chicago Bulls in a lineup that included Adebayo, Herro, Haywood Highsmith, and Max Strus.

  1. Cody Zeller returned to the lineup as the backup center in his first game after fracturing his nose in the overtime loss against the Orlando Magic on March 11.

When Zeller entered the game at the beginning of the second half, he wore a mask. In his first 4:35 of play, he finished with four points, three rebounds, and two fouls.

He remarked, “It’s just kind of uncomfortable.” It almost acts as a heat trap. It perspires and does other things. However, my one is very customized so that you can see it reasonably well through it. It’s perfect in every way.