Game 5 Review
It took a combined effort on the part of the backcourt duo of Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan to push the Toronto Raptors past the Miami Heat in Game 5 of a back-and-forth series for the last ticket to the final four of the NBA. A combined 59 point back court effort set the tone for the Raptors whom also had a surprising contribution from Bizmark Biyombo adding 10 points, six rebounds, and four block shots to the stat sheet. Miami continues to struggle to find any kind of significant support for Dwayne Wade especially in the pivot. Rookie Justise Winslow provided some support with eight points and seven rebounds but the veteran Joe Johnson continued his shooting woes with a 38.5% performance for 11 points, which six of those came in the fourth quarter. The momentum seems to have been swayed towards the Raptors’ favor with a 99 to 91 victory and a 3-2 series lead.
Keys To The Game
The Heat must find some kind of stable rotation from the bench that will make up for the absence of Hassan Whiteside. The wrist injury suffered by Luol Deng, that ended his night in Game 5, can become a factor in his overall play. With a total of 12 team assists, ball movement will be crucial for the Heat in order to expose bad defensive rotations on the part of the Raptors. Toronto will absolutely depend on the play of DeRozan. The scoring he brings will be paramount in helping Lowry be more effective towards the latter part of the game. Biyombo will need to continue his enthusiastic contribution in order to give the Raptors balance offensively and an anchor defensively.
The X-Factor for the Toronto will continue to be DeMar DeRozan. The playoffs are about stepping up in key moments and he has shown that he is capable of that. This is a learning process that doesn’t always see you at your best but there are no excuses for lack of effort. Scoring is not the only thing that a young, skilled, athletic, 6’7” 221 pound guard brings to the game. Four rebounds and two assists in 33 minutes of play shows room for improvement.
The X-Factor for the Heat is Goran Dragić. If ball movement is paramount to the Heat’s offense, two assists from your point guard is simply not good enough. You can say what you want about the conflict between who is leading the team, but that is no excuse for not doing what they brought him here to do. Also Winslow has proven to be capable of modest contributions but he could possibly break out and have a serious impact on the series via his versatility.
These are the moments that Mr. Wade has become accustomed to in the long journey that we call his career. Couple that with the erratic play of Toronto’s dynamic duo, it makes it difficult to see the Heat fade away into the night, especially in Miami. Game seven is exactly what this series needs in order to bring some closure to its legend. 98 to 94 Miami Heat.