- PG: Goran Dragic
- SG: Dwyane Wade
- SF: Joe Johnson
- PF: Luol Deng
- C: Amar’e Stoudemire
Game 5 Preview of Miami Heat and Toronto Raptors
The Miami Heat and Toronto Raptors have combined for one of the most intense playoff series in round two and enter Wednesday night as one of two series that are destined to go at least six games.
Game five could be a crucial turning point in easily the closest series so far this year, as these two Eastern Conference foes have combined for three overtime games and have battled to endings that have been decided by 7 points or less in every game thus far.
Needless to say, it’s easy to see these teams are both evenly matched and none too quick to give up leverage in a series that could catapult them to the Eastern Conference Finals for a date with the Cleveland Cavaliers.
The 2-seeded Raptors still seem to hold a mild edge thanks to home court advantage, but due to the loss of centers Jonas Valanciunas and Hassan Whiteside, both squads seem to be on even footing as the series heads for a climactic turn. Will Miami fight back and steal a second road game in Toronto, or will the Raptors live up to their seeding and inch one step closer to a massive showdown with the Cavs? We find out on Wednesday night, but let’s dissect both teams a little further to see which way we may want to lean in regards to NBA betting.
Miami Heat Preview
Dwyane Wade has been absolutely masterful the past two games, dropping 38 and 30 points as the Heat have stayed in a series that, considering how intense it’s been, easily could have gotten away from them. Wade’s resiliency – especially late in the clutch – is a huge reason why and arguably the reason why Miami is neck and neck with the Raptors.
One fair question is if Wade can keep it up. Not normally known for his three-point shooting, Wade is doing much of his damage inside or in the mid-range game and while Toronto losing big man Jonas Valanciunas could ease things, more playing time for Bismack Biyombo could actually end up being even more problematic.
Naturally, if Wade begins to get cancelled out a bit, Miami is going to need to find a way to respond. Goran Dragic came out hot in games one and two, but along with Luol Deng has since quieted. Joe Johnson has been the main man right there with Wade that has provided constant offense, and he needs to keep his game at a high level now more than ever with Hassan Whiteside officially ruled out for game five.
Luckily Miami has found success with small ball, so they’re rotating the likes of Amar’e Stoudemire, Josh McRoberts and Udonis Haslem, without relying on any one of them too much. The more they can do that and actually benefit from it, the better. The fact that Toronto is also having to go small with DeMarre Carroll and DeMar DeRozan playing more at the four spot tends to work in their favor.
Miami has been the better, more consistent team through the first four games and if things break a little differently, could be up 3-1 or even own the series with a sweep. Toronto has a pretty strong resolve and game five shifts back to Canada, however, so the Heat (losers of 6 of their last 9 games on the road) will have to bring their best stuff to avoid going down, 3-2.
|5/9/16||VS Raptors||Win 94-87 (OT)|
|5/7/16||VS Raptors||WLost 95-91|
|5/5/16||at Raptors||Lost 96-92 (OT)|
|5/3/16||at Raptors||Win 102-96 (OT)|
|5/1/16||VS Hornets||Win 106-73|
Toronto Raptors Preview
Toronto has not been amazing at all in the playoffs, really at any point, but what they have been is resilient. They have taken their lumps and adjusted and responded at every turn, twice losing game one of their first two series, yet finding a way to turn their series around.
They’re back in the same exact situation they were in round one, tied 2-2 and facing a make or break game five. Luckily it’s at home, where they’ve had most of their success on the year. The Raptors undoubtedly miss big man Jonas Valanciunas, but it is very possible his absence doesn’t hurt them nearly as much as Hassan Whiteside’s does for the Heat. Bismack Biyombo was fantastic on both ends in game four despite the tough loss, and it’s entirely plausible to imagine him coming up big again with the series shifting back to Toronto.
- PG: Kyle Lowry
- SG: DeMar DeRozan
- SF: DeMarre Carroll
- PF: Patrick Patterson
- C: Bismack Biyombo
For Toronto, the missing link between them and a game five win (and probably winning the series) is finding their offense. The defense has been there, as they put the clamps down on Miami outside of the arc (allows just one of 15 three’s in game four), but gave up far too much production inside (45% from the field). On the flip side, they only hit six of their own 20 three’s, shot 39% from the floor as a team and got an abysmal 4 for 17 effort out of DeRozan.
The hot and cold game DeRozan and Kyle Lowry have been playing all throughout the playoffs has been annoying and if the Raptors are going to get past Miami, at some point they’ll need to consistently be on the same page. If that can’t finally happen at home in game five, the Raptors could be at risk of losing the minimal leverage they do have in this series.
|5/9/16||at Heat||Lost 94-87 (OT)|
|5/7/16||at Heat||Win 95-91|
|5/5/16||VS Heat||Win 96-92 (OT)|
|5/3/16||VS Heat||Lost 102-96 (OT)|
|5/1/16||VS Pacers||Win 89-84|
Matchup Preview: Heat @ Raptors
This has been a very tough series and these two teams are quite literally beating the snot out of each other. They’ve both lost a very crucial post presence and have had to run small for a variety of reasons. Remember, Miami used to be a bigger and longer team, but they’ve learned to adapt with Chris Bosh lost to blood clots for the second year in a row.
|5/9/16||Heat 94, Raptors 87 (OT)|
|5/7/16||Raptors 95, Heat 91|
|5/5/15||Raptors 96, Heat 92 (OT)|
|5/3/16||Heat 102, Raptors 96 (OT)|
|3/12/16||Raptors 112, Heat 104 (OT)|
|1/22/16||Raptors 101, Heat 81|
|12/15/15||Raptors 108, Heat 94|
|11/8/15||Heat 96, Raptors 76|
Bosh’s departure before post-season play actually ended up helping Miami, as it allowed Joe Johnson to fit in the offense and put Luol Deng in oddly a perfect spot as a stretch four. Deng has yet to really take advantage of his role in this series, and admitted that owning the paint as a cutter has become more difficult against a very solid Toronto defense.
This series is actually pretty cut and dry, though. Both teams defend, both teams are balanced offensively and both teams perform well late in games. Kyle Lowry and Dwyane Wade have for the most part exchanged blows and the series is tied up at 2-2. The first one to blink could be on the losing side with Miami and Toronto face off on Wednesday night.
|Win/Loss||48-34 (20-21 away)||56-26 (32-9 at home)|
Recommended Game 5 Bet
Miami is going to be the play here for a variety of reasons. For one, they hold all of the leverage after stealing game one and evening things back up with a game four home win. The loss of the star centers could be a wash, but no offensive player is playing as well or is flat-out as impactful as Dwyane Wade has been over the course of this series.
The real kicker, though, is just how tight this series has been. Both teams like to keep things slow and methodical on offense, while playing grind out defense. That’s why we’ve seen three OT games, no winner by more than 7 points and a 2-2 series tie. Toronto may win at home on Wednesday, but it’s unlikely to be by five points or more.
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