Whether it goes to overtime or not, it’s quite clear that game 5 in the playoff series between the Miami Heat and the Toronto Raptors isn’t going to be a blowout.
In four games this series, we’ve had three overtimes. The games have been decided by 6, 4, 4 and 7 points. In the last two games we’ve seen individual performances on both sides of the trenches decide the game. Kyle Lowry in game 3 with his best performance of the playoffs, and Dwyane Wade in game 4, scoring 30 points and carrying the Heat on his back.
One theory the Heat have been capable of disproving so far has been that their age will be a factor. They might be older in the key-player department, but so far Wade, Luol Deng (who is quite used to it), Joe Johnson and Goran Dragic have been able to pull in big minutes, and in the last two games, make up for the absence of Hassan Whiteside. Dragic, at 37 minutes per game in this series, has the lowest playing time numbers. Both Johnson and Deng have been averaging over 40 minutes a night.
The Raptors are in trouble: Their two stars are as cold as ice. DeMar DeRozan shot 4-for-17 from the field in the game 4 loss. Kyle Lowry was just 2-for-11. If the Raptors can’t find consistency outside Cory Joseph and Terrence Ross, they’re in trouble. There’s no more advantage in the paint in terms of offense, but they also seem to be unable to let Bismack Biyombo rest. They were +11 during his 31 minutes on the floor, finishing with 13 points and 13 rebounds. Lucas Nogueira might be useful some day, but right now, he’s sub-backup level most of the time he plays.
The Heat go small, and it’s working for them. It means their best players are on the court, and the only thing that puts them at a disadvantage is Biyombo playing. However, he can’t be on the floor forever, and the moment the Raptors play with Nogueira or try to play small, they’re at a disadvantage. Unless DeRozan and Lowry start making some shots. Dwane Casey has been making some bad decisions in this series, and he’s not giving up on his two stars, which might be a mistake of loyalty sinking the ship.
It’s not like we’re just going to bench Kyle and DeMar, and go away from them. They’re our guys. We believe in them. They’re our two All-Stars and sooner or later they’re going to come through or be a part of what we’re trying to do.