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Game 1 Review
It was a thrilling first game that could be a sign of what to expect from this series. The Miami Heat came out focused and determined to show why they belong in the Eastern Conference Finals. Sparked by Goran Dragic’s (26 points; 10-20 FG) hot shooting and Dwayne Wade’s (24 points) resiliency, the Heat displayed poise, confidence and toughness as they came out with the win. The Toronto Raptors once again disappointed the home crowd although they seemed to be playing good basketball in the beginning. Another poor showcasing from Kyle Lowry (going 3-13) although he hit the game tying three pointer beyond half court at the end of regulation has been the reoccurring theme for the playoffs.
Keys To The Game
Miami has to continue to dominate the paint by controlling the boards on the offensive and defensive side. Hassan Whiteside had a fabulous game on the boards by grabbing 17 rebounds and two block shots. What they need to improve on is scoring from the bench players. They had a combined 17 points which 11 of that came from Josh Richardson. It might look good due to the fact they are on the road but the Raptors bench scored a combined 31 points. Yes they got away with the win but if Lowry has any improvement on his shooting, it can be trouble for the Heat if the bench production doesn’t pick up. Meanwhile Toronto at times showed that they can play with them but what we are accustomed to seeing is it happens in spurts. The bench provided their spark in Game 1 so the staters including Lowry needs to match not only their role players but the starting core of Miami. Demar Derozan and Lowry needs to be aggressive going to the basket to draw fouls on Whiteside to make life easier throughout the game. But definitely need Dwane Casey to prove he is the right coach for this team.
The Heat’s X-Factor is Gerald Green. Green has played poorly throughout the playoffs including game 1 but he can definitely become a major factor in Game 2. Green seems as if his confidence is shook. He needs to be assertive on the defensive side of the ball which can gain confidence and once he starts hitting three-pointers, then he can be huge difference in game 2 and even the the rest of the series.
The Raptors’ X-Factor is Norman Powell. Powell has made a name for himself during the playoffs. His ability to hit big shots and create energy for his team was nonexistent on Tuesday night. His ability to drive to the basket and get that streaky shooting going can give the Raptors more fire power to contend with the starters of the Heat.
Prediction: This is a pivotal game for the Raptors and if they go down 2-0, it should be pretty much over. They fight hard but lose. Heat wins 92-88.