The Raptors were in control for the most part of the second half, after having to fight back down by double digits in the first half. They lead by 9 late in the fourth, and by 2 with under 30 seconds to go. The bench production was terrific, which allowed them to not only get back into the game, but solidify a lead they took into the 4th.
The turning point, was Kyle Lowry fouling out after (barely) hooking Justise Winslow on a drive to the basket. From that point on, they struggled to execute offensively: constant isolation plays and poor decisions.
The offense to be frank, sucked. Coach Dwane Casey was thoroughly out-coached this evening, with every basket coming luckily from individuals stepping up at different times. Terrence Ross, DeMarre Carroll and Cory Joseph stepped up offensively, making big plays down the stretch. However, Casey put his team in a hole by over-utilizing DeRozan in isolations; he did acknowledge the fact post-game that his stars struggled, yet he still continued to ride and die with them.
DeMar DeRozan, on the other hand, was garbage tonight. Ineffective the entire game, yet continued to shoot, continued to handle the ball — lose the ball — and miss free-throws. Disregard the thumb – he’s been terrible all playoffs. The body language illustrated his lack of offensive toughness.
Defense was the reason the Raptors got back into the game. Bismack Biyombo was to credit for that run defensively, with Lowry right in the middle of things. Again, poor coaching by Casey near the end to pull Biyombo out of the game led to several straight-line drives by the Heat, which inevitably decided the final result. Casey said post-game that they needed scoring, however, sacrificed the defence for the necessity of offense that was out of sync.
The Raptors tied the rebounding margin with Miami, however, with better bigs in Biyombo, Bebe Nogueira and Patrick Patterson, you’d expect the Raptors to win this department. They’ll need a collective effort without Jonas Valanciunas on the court.
He was absolutely monster in this game, basically how he’s been all series. Flash dropped an impressive stat-line of 30 points, 4 rebounds and 2 assists on a hand-full of different Raptor bodies. This playoff series is the most Wade has looked like classic Wade in a long time.