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The Toronto Raptors earned a fifth successive victory on Sunday, this one 125-115 over a Miami Heat team being guided by a vintage performance from 36-year-old Dwyane Wade.

Kawhi Leonard led the way for Toronto with 29 points, as the Raps survived a 35-point evening from the veteran Miami star off the bench in his 16th and final NBA season.

Pascal Siakam added 21 points and Jonas Valanciunas had 17 along with 10 rebounds. Kyle Lowry had 12 points and 10 helpers. The Raptors rolled to an NBA-leading record of 17-4, with a couple of key tests now on deck against powers from the Western Conference.

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Toronto Raptors guard Kyle Lowry (7) shoots for a basket over Miami Heat center Bam Adebayo (13) in the second half at Scotiabank Arena.Dan Hamilton/USA TODAY Sports via Reuters

Sunday’s was the first of four meetings with Miami this season, a team that now sits 7-12.

The Raptors, who have been sharing off the starting centre spot, this time tabbed Valanciunas. He faced off opposite Miami’s seven-footer Hassan Whiteside, whose 53 blocks so far this season leads the NBA.

Toronto’s seven-foot Lithuanian had a hot game, scoring on everything from hook shots to tip-ins and alley-oop dunks during his 24 minutes on the floor. The big man went 8-of-10 from the field. Whiteside, on the other game, had two points and five boards in just 12 minutes, while the Heat put Bam Adebayo on Valaniunas instead.

The Raps shot 52 per cent on the night – including a shiny 75 per cent in the first quarter with lots of easy transition buckets. The quarter featured flashy dunks from OG Anunoby, and one from Siakam, who dribbled in from the corner and acrobatically alluded both Whiteside and former Raptors tough guy James Johnson.

Wade entered the game late in the first quarter to big applause from the Toronto faithful. He showed why his experience is invaluable to a 6-11 team in the middle of the Eastern Conference who is trying to become a power again. Wade immediately erupted for 11 fast points and flashed some all-star skills, such as pump-faking to lure a foul out of Anunoby.

The Raptors lead by as much as 26 points during the game, but let the Heat hang around, much as they have before putting away all opponents lately. A picturesque three from Wade with nine minutes left suddenly made it an eight-point contest, as he snarled and flashed three fingers at the Toronto crowd. Minutes later, he hit a 22-foot jumper to keep his team rolling.

But the Raps didn’t let it stay too close for long. Leonard had some key steals, rebounds and free throws to help put it away.

Leonard’s day also included his first-ever technical foul. The enigmatic new Raptor complained and waved his arms emphatically after officials missed an obvious foul call on Justise Winslow as the heat guard grabbed Leonard’s arm as he drove to the hoop.

“It was just kind of getting out of hand with some of the calls out there. They are doing the best job they can, but some of the calls tonight, I mean I thought I got fouled pretty hard,” said the soft-spoken Leonard, who added that he definitely earned the tech. “You work so hard in this game to try and win a game or score the basketball and when you don’t get your calls, it’s very difficult when someone blatantly fouls you.”

On Saturday, Leonard’s former coach in San Antonio, Gregg Popovich told reporters that when Leonard played for the Spurs, he “was a great player, but he wasn’t a leader or anything”.

Before Sunday’s game, Raptors coach Nick Nurse was asked about his observations of Leonard as a Raptor, and Nurse was sure to include leadership among Leonard’s strengths.

“I’ve seen some great leadership traits from him,” Nurse said. “He is a little bit more gregarious than everybody thinks. He’s pretty funny and the guys really enjoy him, I really enjoy talking to him, etc. He’s got a good personality.”

Pressed for examples of Leonard’s leadership, Nurse said he showed examples right away in training camp, inviting teammates to the gym with him, and asking a player who needed more shooting time to join his pregame shooting session.

“Just some little – I think – neat things that say a lot about a guy,” Nurse said. “He does it quietly, but they are leadership things to me.”

The Raptors get ready now to face two of the top three teams atop the Western Conference standings. The Raps travel to Memphis for a Tuesday contest with the Grizzlies, before returning to host the Golden State Warriors on Thursday.

“It’s good, I want to get in some tough games, I want to get in some knock’em out, drag ‘em out and I want to see what we’re made of,” Nurse said. “I’m looking forward to it.”

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