Game 5…the game where 88% of its winners will go on to eventually win the series; clearly a pivotal game for both the Toronto Raptors and the Miami Heat. After a disappointing Game 4 overtime loss, the Raptors were back at home to tip off against the Heat in front of the raucous Air Canada Centre and ‘Jurassic Park’ crowd.
DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry would need to get back to their NBA All-Star level of play that the Raptors so desperately needed, and on this night they would get it. DeRozan and Lowry scored 34 points and 25 points respectively; combining for 59 points in the game.
With Jonas Valanciunas and Hassan Whiteside already out off action, injuries have become an unwanted storyline in this series. The Heat’s Luol Deng fell over a cameraman late in the second quarter, hurt his wrist, and did not return to the game. Late in the third quarter, DeMarre Carroll injured his wrist/hand on a drive to the basket against Goran Dragic. To add insult to injury, literally, Carroll was called for the offensive foul. Like Deng, Carroll also did not return to the game after suffering his injury. Carroll underwent x-rays which came back negative, and his injury is being referred to as a contusion.
DeMar DeRozan had been struggling with a recent injury of his own, a sore thumb he sprained earlier in this series. During timeouts and when DeRozan was on the bench for rest, Raptors’ Alex McKechnie, Director of Sports Science and Assistant Coach, was using a shoestring wrapped tightly around DeRozan’s thumb to help reduce the swelling. DeRozan did re-aggravate the injury during the game, but returned to the game after a quick trip to the locker room to ensure the injury hadn’t become worse.
The Raptors led by as many as 20 points in the second quarter, sparked by pushing the pace & tempo after steals and blocks they created on the defensive end. Unfortunately for the Raptors, they continue to struggle closing out quarters strong, often showing an inability to maintain large leads or leads they hold at key junctures in the game. The Miami Heat went on a 10-0 run to close the second quarter, cutting the Raptors lead in half, 55-45.
Toronto was able to extend it’s lead to 13 points, 75-62 after the third quarter, in what was a back and forth 12 minutes heading into the final frame. Dwyane Wade had a quiet first half, scoring just five points, but he came to play in the second half, posting 15 points, including eight points in the fourth, as he tried to rally his Miami Heat team.
Kyle Lowry started the game 5 of 9, including 3 of 4 from three-point range, but was only 4 of 16 in the second half. That said, he found other ways to contribute in the game, grabbing ten rebounds, dishing out six assists, and collecting three steals. Lowry also converted two HUGE shots down the stretch, late in the fourth quarter, including this one to help seal the win for the Raptors:
With the 99-91 win, the Raptors have a chance to close out the series in Game 6, back in Miami on Friday the 13th, 9pm tip off!
Notable Raptors stat lines:
Bismack Biyombo – Ten points, six rebounds, two steals, four blocks
DeMar DeRozan – 34 points, four rebounds, two assists, two steals
Kyle Lowry – 25 points, ten rebounds, six assists, three steals, one block
Notable Heat stat lines:
Joe Johnson – 11 points, eight rebounds
Dwyane Wade – 20 points, seven rebounds, four assists, one block
Goran Dragic – 13 points, five rebounds, two assists
Josh Richardson – 13 points, three rebounds, one block, one steal
Postgame Media Sessions:
Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan
“The Miami Heat speak with the media following their Game 5 loss to the Raptors.”