After coming off the bench and scoring 20 points in his first appearance with the Raptors on Friday, Rudy Gay made his first start with the team against the Heat since being acquired in a three-team blockbuster trade last week. And Gay, who has struggled for much of the season, showed why Grizzlies coach Lionel Hollins was so upset that he was dealt.
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Gay went toe-to-toe with LeBron James for much of the afternoon, and although he came up short in the end, he still posted very impressive numbers. The Raptors' forward finished the game with a team-high 29 points on 11-of-23 shooting in 42 minutes. He also added four rebounds, two assists and three steals.
Gay's struggles from the three-point line did continue, as he went just 1-of-5, but he helped make up for that by getting to the free-throw line seven times and making six of them. Those seven free throw attempts were the most for him since Dec. 31, which is pretty remarkable for a guy with his talent and athleticism.
There are certainly still major questions about why Toronto dealt for Gay, but at least he is off to a good start. He will have to continue this sort of offensive production to validate the Raptors taking on his bloated contract.