#2 Toronto Raptors vs. #3 Miami Heat, Raptors lead series 3-2 (8pm ET Friday, ESPN)
The Raptors scored the first 9 points of Wednesday’s Game 5 and never surrendered the lead, though they did have to hold off a late charge by the Heat to secure a 95-91 win and take a 3-2 lead in the best-of-seven series.
Up by as much as 20 in the first half, Toronto suddenly went ice cold, not scoring a single point for more than 5 minutes, a drought that extended into the second half and allowed the Heat to get back within 7 before a DeMar DeRozan jumper stopped the bleeding. But the Heat kept chipping away until Dwyane Wade’s layup with 9 seconds to go got the Heat to within 4. But it wouldn’t be enough as DeRozan hit 4-of-4 from the charity stripe to salt it away.
DeRozan was a scoring machine for the Raptors, hitting on 11 of 22 from the field and 11 of 11 from the line for 35 points, and though Kyle Lowry’s shot is still off the mark, as he hit on just 9 of 25, he managed to fill his line of the box score with 25 points, 10 rebounds, 6 assists, 3 steals, 1 block and just 1 turnover.
The Heat starters struggled on the offensive end, making just 17 of 49, with Wade leading the team in scoring with 20, and on the defensive end they dearly missed Hassan Whiteside’s lane-clogging, rebound-grabbing, shot-blocking energy. Whiteside continues to get treatment on his knee and is not likely to play, and Luol Deng is questionable after bruising his wrist in Game 5.