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Heat finished at the (wretched) start in 121-97 humiliation in Toronto

TORONTO – Well, that’s one way to end the first half of the season.

By virtually assuring that the start of the second half has to be better.

Now 24-17 at the midpoint of their season, Miami Heat took a game seemingly there for the taking and kicked it away Wednesday, on a night they had a franchise-record 35-point halftime deficit on the way to a 121-97 loss to the Toronto Raptors at Scotiabank Arena.

With the Raptors shorthanded as they worked to finalize a trade of Pascal Siakam to the Indiana Pacers, the Heat created their second consecutive disaster of a first half, this time the hole too deep to recreate their comeback of Monday night against the Brooklyn Nets at the start of this two-game trip.

The glass half full? The Heat ended the first half of their season with three victories in their last four games.

The glass half empty? The Heat ended the first half of their season 5-5 in their last 10, the type of mediocrity that lands you in the play-in round.

With what had been league-leading 3-point shooting proving to be something far less, the Heat closed 6 of 28 from beyond the arc, compared to 20 of 38 for the Raptors.

Jimmy  Butler, Tyler Herro and Bam Adebayo each scored 16 for the Heat..

The Raptors got 28 points from Gary Trent Jr., 26 from RJ Barrett, 20 from Scottie Barmes, and 19 from Immanuel Quickley.

Five Degrees of Heat from Wednesday night’s game:

1. Game flow: The Heat trailed 41-18 at the end of the first period and 78-43 at halftime, the largest halftime deficit in the Heat’s 36 seasons.

The silver lining? The record for most first-half opponent points remains 83 by the Bucks in December 2020.

The Heat then trimmed their deficit to 19 in the third quarter, before going into the fourth down 94-73.

From there, the Heat moved within 96-83 with 8:46 to play, but a pair of Raptors 3-pointers then effectively ended it.

Heat coach Erik Spoelstra then pulled the plug with his primary rotation players with 2:21 to play and the Heat down 118-92.

2. Awful at outset: So you thought Monday night’s first half in Brooklyn was bad, when the Heat were down 45-31 at halftime, a game the Heat opened 0 for 13 on 3-pointers? Think again.

This time the Heat trailed by that 41-18 count at the end of the first period, at 7 of 21 from the field and 1 of 7 on 3-pointers, with just three assists.

The Raptors, by contrast, were 15 of 24 from the field and 7 of 10 on 3-pointers in the period, with 14 assists.

It effectively was 18-18 Former Knicks vs. Heat at the end of one, with Quickley with 10 points in the period and Barrett with eight, two players Toronto acquired from New York in last month’s trade for OG Anunoby.

Each of the eight Heat players who saw action in the first quarter was at least minus 11, with Herro and Adebayo minus 23.

3. Three for all: Perhaps the most telling stat of the first half was the 3-point shooting, with the Raptors outscoring the Heat 42-3 from beyond the arc, with Toronto 14 of 22 and the Heat 1 of 16 in the first 24 minutes.

While Herro had the Heat’s lone 3-point conversion of the first half, he also closed the Heat 1 of 7 from beyond the arc. Kyle Lowry and Duncan Robinson both were 0 of 3 on 3-pointers in the first half.

Combined with Monday’s struggle in Brooklyn, it left the Heat 1 of 28 in the first halves of the two games.

4. Jovic again: Nikola Jovic made his eighth consecutive start for the Heat, opening for the second consecutive game alongside Adebayo, Herro, Butler and Lowry.

It was a sad day for Jovic, who is friends with the son of Dejan Milojevi?, the Golden State Warriors assistant and former Serbian national-team coach, who died suddenly Wednesday from a heart attack.

There was a pregame moment of silence before Wednesday night’s game, as there was around the league.

Spoelstra offered condolences on behalf of the Heat when he opened his pregame comments.

5. What’s next: The Heat now go from the sobering realities of Wednesday night to Friday night’s retirement of Udonis Haslem’s No. 40 at Kaseya Center. That 8 p.m. start against the Atlanta Hawks will have an extended 25-minute halftime.

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