We made it Raptor fans. Exhale, celebrate, hug your friends & family tight because the Toronto Raptors are going to the Eastern Conference Finals. For some of you, you weren’t there for all the playoff let-downs and bitter disappointments. But the rest of you were and you know exactly how much this means to all of us and we all most certainly enjoyed every minute of this 116-89 win over the Miami Heat.
It was a tit for tat game throughout. Neither team could gain a stranglehold in the first-half and that led to a nervy Raptors fanbase come half-time. But #Lowrytime and #WeTheFourth came alive as the Raptors outscored the heat 30-11 in the fourth quarter knocking them down and stepping on their throats.
This is uncharted territory. Despite being the 2nd and 3rd seeds in the East neither of these teams have ever been looked at as a challenge for LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers. But if anyone has a chance to defeat the king it’s the Raptors.
Anytime you score 116 points, you know you had it going offensively. Add the fact that it came in the playoffs and the Raptors were rolling at the right time while setting a new record for points in a playoff game. The biggest worry for the Cavaliers going into the next round will be the Backcourt Duo of DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry who combined for 63 points and were 12 of 18 from the free-throw line. Bismack Biyombo also added 17 points and took advantage of the lack of bigs for Miami as it seemed everytime he got the ball he was going for a monster dunk.
Defence is about effort, and with the stakes this high the effort-level needed to be at the max. Whatever offensive struggles the Raptors had in the first-half were taken care of because of the focus and determination given by the Raptors on the defensive end. We did get a little bit lucky as the Heat were unable to capitalize on some good looks, but the Raptors stayed disciplined, especially in the fourth quarter where they held the Heat to 11 points. Dwayne Wade was also held to just 16 points and the Raptors kept both him and Joe Johnson from getting into a rhythm offensively.
The Raptors outrebounded the Heat 50-30 on the afternoon doing exactly what everyone expected them to do. As soon as Hassan Whiteside went down the Miami Heat were in trouble as there was no one on their team who could consistently be a force on the glass. The Raptors on the other hand were well prepared as Biyombo stepped in with 16 boards as well as Patrick Patterson who had 11 himself.
Game Ball: Everyone
We were all a part of it. We all witnessed it and we all deserve credit for it. This game ball goes to everyone. It goes to Lowry and DeRozan for stepping up when they needed to. It goes to the bench for responding after a poor Game 6. It goes to Biyombo for perfectly replacing Jonas Valanciunas in the starting lineup. It goes to Masai Ujiri and Dwane Casey for building a winner. And it goes to you Raptor fans. No one supports their team more passionately than you do.
All stats from this article are from NBA.com