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Given several chances to make up with Canada, Dwyane Wade couldn't manage anything better than a bored 'I'm sorry if you're offended.' Canada was not impressed.

The crowd started booing before the introductions. Since you need the diaphragm strength of a professional baritone to boo for a solid 30 seconds, the jeers tend to bleed off quickly.

Not this time. They booed loudly and steadily. They even booed Amar'e Stoudemire, who is too old and cranky to deserve anything but sympathy.

When it got to Wade, the noise was an animal growl. Once the game had started, Wade was booed at every touch. This wasn't about the anthem any more. Over the first four forgettable games, Wade had been the only consistent performer on either team. Miami didn't tie this series up. Wade did.

Ahead of the game, Miami reporters asked Wade if being booed hurt his feelings.

"No," he said.

Does it motivate you?


Not for most of Wednesday. For the first time in this series, Wade did not answer the bell for a game.

Going into the final two minutes, he was a miserable 3-for-10 with 12 points. Then, as he tends to do, he began Wade-ing. He sunk the basket that got Miami within three. He drew the iffy foul that got them within one.

But his magic tricks ended with the rabbit stuck in the hat. This evening, the role of Dwyane Wade was performed by Kyle Lowry, who made two huge plays at the death to seal it.

Riding what might have been their best all-round effort of this postseason, the Toronto Raptors won 99-91.

After all the angst of the past few days, the Raptors now stand on the cusp of what, for them, is undiscovered country – a berth in the Eastern Conference final.

They can end this with a win in Miami on Friday night. Calibrate your expectations with this in mind – the Raptors have won only one sixth game of any playoff series.

They may have to do it without defensive stopper DeMarre Carroll, who suffered a painful looking wrist injury. His X-rays were negative, meaning nothing's broken, but it isn't clear if he will return to the series.

In keeping with the bizarre injury symmetry between these two, the Heat also lost their small forward, Luol Deng, and also to a wrist injury. That's four starters combined who've gone down in five days.

Late in the game, DeMar DeRozan jammed his injured thumb on a play and retreated to the locker room for medical attention. He did return.

If we do get to a Game 7, this series may have turned into wheelchair basketball.

The way the Raptors start a game rarely has anything to do with how they finish it. During these playoffs, quick starts have become reverse bellwethers. On Wednesday, they burst into the contest doing all sorts of new and unusual things – people passed the ball; DeRozan made a shot; Lowry spotted up a three and didn't sail it into the stands. Miami did not score its first point until four minutes into the game. It was all going so well, people briefly forgot to boo Wade.

How dominant was Toronto in that first quarter? DeRozan and Lowry had 19 points after 10 minutes. That's as many as they managed in all of Game 4.

Toronto led by as many as 16 early – the largest lead for either team during the series. They grew so emboldened that that guy you sometimes see sitting on the end of the bench but don't recognize – anonymous late-in-the-season addition Jason Thompson – was playing.

After the first frame, it was 28-18, Wade had done nothing of note and the rest of the Heat looked hung over. It was a reminder of how much better the Raptors are than the Heat when their all-stars are playing averagely well. It wasn't even close.

Like how far apart?

When the cameras panned to famously front-running NFL receiver Terrell Owens in the crowd, Owens held up a giveaway T-shirt and waved it for the crowd. That man played for the Dallas Cowboys. He doesn't even know how to root for a loser. Or something like that.

It just kept getting better. In what might have been the best 10 seconds in Raptors history, Bismack Biyombo blocked a floating Wade dunk on one end, gave the Heat star the "no, no" finger wag while staring a hole in him, then sprinted the length of the court to slam one home himself. At that point, Toronto led by 19.

(In the midst of all the talk about DeRozan's impending free agency, spare a thought for Bismack Biyombo's agent. That poor guy may have planned a really nice summer vacation, and now he's going to waste it carting huge pallets of money into Biyombo's basement.)

It was as imperious as this team has looked since their blowout in Indianapolis nearly two weeks ago.

The Raptors led by 10 at the intermission and continued to storm through the third. As poor as it has been at times, Toronto has consistently played strong defence. The Raptors continued to smother Wade out of the game. DeRozan was hitting the elbow jumpers he'd previously been missing. As Lowry had the game before, DeRozan was in foul trouble and sat out the end of the third.

The man with the primary responsibility for Wade was Carroll. He went down heavily in the third and landed with his full weight on his left hand. He left the game clutching his wrist and did not return.

Wade took full advantage. On the next possession, Cory Joseph tapped him lightly on the forehead. Wade reacted as if he'd been skewered. The crowd was reminded of why they didn't like the guy in the first place.

But they didn't waste much time on him for the rest of the game. Until the very end, there didn't seem much point. It's hard to imagine that being the case two games in a row.

Editor's Note: Earlier newspaper and digital versions of this column incorrectly said the team have never won the sixth game of any playoff series. In fact, they won a game six in 2001 against the 76ers. This digital version has been corrected.

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