DeMar DeRozan poured in 33 points Friday night as the Toronto Raptors extended their winning streak to seven games with a 101-81 victory over the injury-riddled Miami Heat.
It marks Toronto’s longest winning string under coach Dwane Casey and the franchise’s longest run of victories since a nine-game stretch in 2002.
The Heat never led and trailed by as many as 20 as they lost their fourth straight and seventh of their last eight.
DeRozan, looking to join teammate Kyle Lowry at next month’s all-star game in Toronto, came out on fire and had 22 points, five rebounds and four assists in the first half. His nine field goals made in the half were a career high.
It’s the second time in DeRozan’s career that he has scored 30 or more points in three straight games. He came into the contest averaging 23.1 points per game for the season.
Lowry had 15 points on the night, with the crowd chanting MVP as he went to the line in the final minutes.
Former Raptor Chris Bosh, with 10 first-quarter points, went over the 17,000 mark for his career. He finished with 26, drawing a regular chorus of boos throughout the night.
All-star guard Dwyane Wade, who overcame a shoulder injury to start, finished with 22 points.
But the Heat were without Chris Andersen (knee), Luol Deng (eye), Josh McRoberts (knee), Hassan Whiteside (oblique) and Beno Udrih (neck).
“Today’s approach was business as usual,” Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra said prior to the game.
“We’re not feeling sorry for ourselves,” he added. “Nobody else will, we know that.”
The game was a sellout of 19,800, marking the first time the Air Canada Centre has been full for the first 20 games of a Raptors season.
The crowd roared in the first quarter when Miami’s Tyler Johnson blew a breakaway reverse dunk attempt in spectacular fashion. Johnson came in for more abuse in the second when a Cory Joseph move left him stumbling like a drunken sailor.
Rachel McAdams, meanwhile, was shown some love by a clearly smitten Raptors mascot who presented the Canadian actress with a team jersey, flowers and mini-Raptor plush toy.
DeRozan had 15 of the Raptors’ points in the first quarter on 6-of-9 shooting as Toronto led by as many as 13. The Raptors were up 31-20 at the end of the quarter.
The Heat’s Gerald Green missed a dunk over Raptor behemoth Bismack Biyombo in the second quarter. Green thumped the padding under the basket in frustration and, still brooding, was hit with a technical soon after.
It was 60-44 at the half with Terrence Ross (12 points on 4-for-4 shooting) and DeRozan keeping the scoreboard ticking. It marked the fifth time this season Toronto had scored at least 60 in the first half.
DeRozan went a little cold in the third, hitting just two of seven shots but still upped his points total to 30 with Toronto leading 80-67. And when DeRozan missed, other Raptors were on hand to finish off.
Miami briefly cut the lead to a single digit with four minutes left in the game at 88-79.
NOTES: Friday’s game was the third of a seven-game Raptors home stand ... Toronto is now 25-49 all-time record against Miami ... Friday’s game was 10 years to the day that Lakers star Kobe Bryant scored 81 points in a 122-104 victory over the Raptors at the Staples Center.Report Typo/Error