The Raptors torched the Miami Heat on Friday night.

DeMar DeRozan scored 34 points to lift the Raptors to a 96-87 victory over the Miami Heat, becoming the first player since Michael Jordan in 1986 — to open a season with five 30-plus games. Jordan’s streak reached six games.

Terrence Ross finished with 20 points in his best game this season, while Kyle Lowry dropped 13 points and eight assists for the Raptors now 4-1.

DeRozan, who leads the league with 35.8 points a game, was on pace to have a quiet night against the Heat, with just 12 points in the first half. But then he came to play in the second half with a 14-for-26 shooting night.

In what was the first meeting between the two teams since Toronto eliminated Miami in last season’s Eastern Conference semifinal, Miami kept it close through three quarters trailing 72-75 at the end of three quarters.

The game remained close through the the fourth until DeRozan hit three straight buckets putting the Raptors up by nine points with just under two minutes to play. Then with 1:28 to play, Toronto led by double digits and pulled away down the stretch.

Also big for the Raptors was Ross, who had an immediate impact when he checked into the game late in the first quarter with the Raptors trailing by 12.

Ross was 8-of-15 including an acrobatic over-the-head air defying shot where he had to rely on the big screen to check whether the ball had dropped through the hoop making the capacity crowd at the Air Canada Centre crowd, get excited.

Next up: The Raptors host Sacramento on Sunday, then hit the road for a game at Oklahoma City on Wednesday followed by Charlotte on Friday.

Peace

Mr. Burke

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