LOS ANGELES: Kyle Lowry scored 33 points to help the Toronto Raptors overcome the loss of center Jonas Valanciunas and beat the Heat, 95-91, in Miami for the lead in their NBA playoff series.
Lowry, who struggled with his shooting in the first two games of the best-of-seven Eastern Conference second-round series, connected on 11 of 19 attempts from the floor as the Raptors took a 2-1 series lead.
That included going three-of-three on three-pointers in his 15-point third quarter and 14 points in the fourth period when his jump shot over Heat veteran Dwyane Wade with 31 seconds to play gave the Raptors a three-point lead.
Miami’s Joe Johnson missed a three-pointer with 16.8 seconds left that would have tied the score.
Miami was led by Wade, who scored 18 of his 38 points in the third period.
He had 11 points in the fourth quarter, but missed a contested three-pointer with 9.5 seconds left with Miami down by four.
Both teams saw key big men depart early with injuries.
Heat center Hassan Whiteside reinjured his right knee with 10:53 left in the second quarter. He had hurt the knee in the series opener but continued to play.
This time, Whiteside, who led the NBA in blocked shots this season, left the game with six points and no rebounds in eight minutes.
Toronto’s Lithuanian center Valanciunas, who averaged 19.5 points and 13.0 rebounds in the first two games, had 16 points and 12 rebounds when he sprained his right ankle with 8:53 left in the third.
The Raptors led 55-42 when Valanciunas was hurt as he tried to block a Wade layup and came down awkwardly.
The Heat responded, knotting the score at 68-68 going into the fourth quarter, but with Lowry leading the way the Raptors escaped with a win and will try for another win in Miami on Monday (Tuesday in Manila).