for this game

Raptors end cold spell with rout of Heat

Mar 6, 2008 - 5:10 AM MIAMI (Ticker) -- Mired in a rare cold spell, the Toronto Raptors caught a break in the form of a game with the Miami Heat.

Rasho Nesterovic scored 16 points to lead five Raptors in double figures in a 108-83 rout of the Heat on Wednesday night.

Having lost three straight games for only the second time this season and playing without injured All-Star Chris Bosh, Toronto wasted no time asserting itself and then never let up.

The Raptors jumped out to a 25-10 lead in the first quarter and led, 53-42, at the half. They put the game out of reach by outscoring the Heat, 27-16, in the third quarter to open up an 80-58 cushion.

"We were aggressive right from the beginning, and really took them out of their game," Nesterovic said. "We had the right mental approach tonight. We came out with a lot of energy and wanted to make a statement."

It was the second time this season Toronto has routed Miami. On February 4, Bosh and Andrea Bargnani combined for 46 points as the Raptors rolled to a 114-82 victory.

With Bosh sidelined and Bargnani out of the game in the third quarter after a flagrant foul by Alexander Johnson, the Raptors relied on balance.

Nesterovic added 10 rebounds and Jose Calderon had nine points and 13 assists. Jamario Moon scored 14 points, T.J. Ford had 13 off the bench and Bargnani and Anthony Parker chipped in 12 each.

"This warm weather gave us a little bounce," Raptors coach Sam Mitchell said. "We really Rebounded well and our defense was solid all night. We trusted each other at the offensive end. We have good enough shooters that we can pick each other up."

Johnson hit Bargnani in the head under the basket sending him to the floor hard. Bargnani was down on the court for three to four minutes minutes before getting up and knocking down a pair of free throws. He left the game after that and headed for the locker room.

"Any time a guy leaves his feet like that, and takes that kind of a hit and goes down hard, you have to be concerned," Mitchell said. "But it seems like he's OK. He's a little sore, but we don't expect that he'll miss any time at all."

X-rays on Bargnani were negative and he did not suffer a concussion. He did, however, have some damage to three teeth and sported a nasty bruise on the side of his face.

"It was hurting bad; I didn't know at first how bad it might be," Bargnani said. "I was conscious the whole time, but I was a little dizzy and couldn't see too well for maybe 30 seconds, so they felt I should be checked out, but I feel a lot better now."

The Raptors improved to 18-0 when holding an opponent under 90 points. The Heat fell to 1-21 when scoring less than 90.

"That was hard to watch," Heat coach Pat Riley said. "The starting unit just did not come in the first three quarters at all with any life, any energy or any commitment.

"You don't give a free pass on the lack of effort and a horrible attitude. The attitude that they showed - I should write a check tomorrow to each season ticket holder and send them back at least for tonight. It's just an apathetic approach on our part. It's so unprofessional it's ridiculous."

Marcus Banks scored 21 points and Dwyane Wade and Ricky Davis each had 16 for Miami.

"It's frustrating when you go out there and try to do everything right, but it seems like nothing can go our way," Heat forward Shawn Marion said.

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