TORONTO (AP) — DeMar DeRozan is showing no signs of slowing down.READ MORE: 'Let’s All Get Healthy': MDC North Campus COVID-19 Vaccination Site Sees Steady Stream Of Those Wanting Vaccine
The Toronto Raptors star has surged to the top of the NBA scoring charts, averaging 35.8 points after dropping 34 on the Miami Heat in a 96-87 victory Friday night.
It was his fifth straight game with at least 30 points for DeRozan, passing Mike James for the longest such streak in franchise history and the best such start to a season since Michael Jordan did it for six straight games to open the 1986-87 season.
DeRozan was not about to dwell on his place alongside such distinguished company.
“Yeah, I heard,” he said. “I don’t believe it.”
What he could believe was the four turnovers he had in the first quarter, part of the six the team committed as it fell behind by 12 points at one point.
DeRozan admitted he was passing too much at that point, something that he quickly adjusted in helping his team rally back from a double-digit deficit for the second straight game.
“A couple shots I passed up,” he said. “. (Coach Dwane Casey) just said to me to go out and shoot it.”
Toronto’s win was helped greatly by the play of its reserves, which combined for a season-high 36 points as the Raptors beat the Heat for the fourth straight time in the regular season.
This was the first meeting between the teams since Toronto beat Miami in the Eastern Conference semifinals last season.
Terrence Ross had 20 points off the bench, and his play epitomized Toronto’s comeback.
“We always go 15 deep and we really have a full team,” said Kyle Lowry, who had 13 points. “One day it’s one guy’s time and the next day it might be another guy’s.”
The Heat looked to be back in the game after reducing a 16-point deficit to just three over the last 4 minutes of the third quarter. But Toronto opened the final quarter with a 7-0 run and Miami never got closer than five points the rest of the way.
“That third quarter was good for us but in the fourth we were not focused enough, we made too many mistakes offensively and defensively and they took advantage of that,” said Goren Dragic, who had 17 points. Center Hassan Whiteside led the Heat with 21 points and 16 rebounds.
The Raptors held the Heat to 38.6 percent shooting from the field in the game, the fourth game out of five that Toronto has held its opponent below 42 percent.READ MORE: Miami-Dade Daniella Mayor Levine Cava: 'Countywide Curfew Could Be Lifted By April 5th'
Miami was unable to say the same, particularly about DeRozan, who went 14 of 26 from the field.
“We tried to give him different looks,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. “We really wanted to try and take it out of his hands a couple of times but we weren’t able to do it. He’s a heck of a player.”
Heat: G Wayne Ellington (quadriceps) missed his fifth straight game to open the season. … Whiteside recorded his fifth straight double-double, a franchise record streak to open the season. Rony Seikaly had four straight to open the season in 1990-91 and 1991-92. … Whiteside registered a block for the 34th straight game, extending his career-long streak and putting him just one behind Alonzo Mourning for the third-longest streak in team history, set in 2006-07.
Raptors: DeRozan broke a tie with former teammate Jose Calderon for the second-most games played in franchise history, playing his 525th game in a Raptors uniform. … Raptors 905, Toronto’s NBA Development League affiliate, announced three additions to head coach Jerry Stackhouse’s staff on Friday night. Former Tennessee coach Donnie Tyndall will serve as an assistant coach; Nicki Gross, the only female coach in the D-League, was appointed player development coach; and John Corbacio was promoted to video-coordinator/player development coach.
While DeRozan was discussing his latest 30-point game with reporters, center Jonas Valanciunas chimed in. “Still 46th, man,” he said jokingly in reference to Sports Illustrated ranking DeRozan as the 46th best player in the NBA in its preseason issue. “But No. 1 in our hearts.”
Former Raptor James Johnson made the most of his return to the city he has called home twice in his NBA career by registering his 100th career 3-point field goal with 1:58 to play in the third quarter. He finished with 11 points on 4-of-8 shooting and two assists, the first of which was the 600th of his career.
BACK IN BUSINESS
After partially tearing the MCL in his right knee eight weeks ago, Heat guard Josh Richardson made his season debut with 3:50 remaining in the first quarter. He had no points on 0-for-4 shooting in 11:36 minutes.
Heat: Continue their two-game swing in Oklahoma City, where Miami has lost two straight.
Raptors: Host Sacramento as the Kings wrap up a five-game trip in Toronto, where they have an all-time record of 8-12.MORE NEWS: CBS4 Photojournalist Rafael Murciano Is Quite 'The Entertainer' With His Musical Talents
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